President Jacob Zuma addresses at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg

Analysis: South African Executive Cannot Unilaterally Withdraw from the ICC

The High Court of South Africa recently made a declaration that a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court filed by the executive of the South African government without prior Parliamentary approval was unconstitutional and ordered it withdrawn. The central question for the Court was one of domestic separation of powers under the Constitution of South Africa. Did the executive’s power to negotiate and sign treaties under s. 231 of the Constitution impliedly give it the power to unilaterally withdraw after Parliament (the legislative authority under s. 42 of the Constitution) had ratified and implemented the treaty?
Kids' graffiti on the concrete walls of the UNKIK HQ in Pristina

Analysis: Flexibility in Transitional Justice

From the declaration of independence of Kosovo in 2008, Kosovars have treated the “four pillars of transitional justice” – truth, prosecutions/criminal justice, reparations and institutional reforms – as though they were the four simple goals for achieving transitional justice through societal changes and development. However, as so often happens, context requires flexibility. David Tolbert noted the pillars can be applied too formulaically. Consequently, “…in the hands of some the four pillars approach has become a kind of “check the box” approach that is formulaic or ‘paint by numbers’ in nature”, whereas transitional justice is anything but formulaic — it needs to be responsive to the local conditions and situations.” Transitions from war to peace are driven by what Tolbert referred to as ‘active social forces’, which include not only civil society as usually conceived as including victims’ groups and human rights activists, but also unions, religious groups, and other interested social groups.