SADC Lawyers welcome new AU Chair

Urge SADC leaders to save SADC Tribunal

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Strategic communications for WWF

July 23rd, 2012

While congratulating the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the election of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the first citizen of SADC to chair the African Union (AU) Commission, the SADC Lawyers’ Association called on regional leaders to approach critical southern African issues with the same determination and commitment to developing stronger institutions – and urged them to start by saving the SADC Tribunal.

In an official statement, the SADC Lawyers Association called on SADC leaders to work together and re-open the SADC Tribunal and ensure that when this is done the Tribunal is not stripped of its mandate and powers.

“Our concern is that when the operations of the Tribunal were suspended in August 2010, this was supposed to be for a period of six months as a review into the powers, mandate and jurisdiction of the Tribunal was being undertaken. Almost two years have elapsed and the Tribunal has not been re-opened leading to the undermining of the rights of SADC citizens to access justice,” said the Association’s President, Mrs Thoba Poyo-Dlwati.

The Association added that “As SADC steps out to lead the continent, the legal profession hopes that the regional leaders will learn from the developments in other parts of Africa including the East African Community and the Economic Community of West African States which have strong, functional and efficient regional courts.”

And the statement concluded, “As the region stands in support of Dr Dlamini-Zuma in her new position, it is hoped that she will not have to deal with embarrassments emanating from the region’s failure to observe its own laws and respect its own institutions.”

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