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The SADC tribunal : its jurisdiction, enforcement of its judgments and the sovereignty of its member states

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dc.contributor.advisor Ferreira-Snyman, M. P. Phooko, Moses Retselisitsoe 2016-07-26T12:20:34Z 2016-07-26T12:20:34Z 2016-02 2016-07-26
dc.identifier.citation Phooko, Moses Retselisitsoe (2016) The SADC tribunal : its jurisdiction, enforcement of its judgments and the sovereignty of its member states, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract The Southern African Development Community Tribunal (the Tribunal) is the only judicial organ of the Southern African Development Community (the SADC). Its mandate includes ensuring “adherence to and the proper interpretation of the provisions of the Southern African Development Community Treaty” (the Treaty). The decisions of the Tribunal are final and binding in the territories of member states party to a dispute before it. The responsibility to ensure that the decisions of the Tribunal are enforced lies with the Southern African Development Community Summit (the Summit). The Summit is the supreme policy-making body of the SADC. It comprises the Heads of State or Government of all SADC member states. The decisions of the Summit are binding on all member states and, upon referral from the Tribunal, it has the power to take appropriate action against a member state who refuses to honour a decision of the Tribunal. The Tribunal was established primarily to deal with disputes emanating from the SADC’s economic and political units and not with human rights. A dispute concerning allegations of human rights violations in Zimbabwe was brought before the Tribunal by farmers affected by the country’s land-reform policy. The Tribunal, through reliance on the doctrine of implied powers, and the principles and objectives of the SADC as contained in the Treaty, extended its jurisdiction. In particular, the Tribunal found that it had jurisdiction to hear cases involving human rights violations and that there had indeed been human rights violations in the case before it. It consequently ruled against Zimbabwe. This decision has been welcomed by many within the SADC region as showing the Tribunal’s commitment to interpreting the Treaty in a way that does not run counter the rights of SADC citizens. However, the Tribunal’s decision has met with resistance from Zimbabwe and has not been implemented on the ground, inter alia, that the Tribunal acted beyond its mandate. The Tribunal has on several occasions referred cases of non-compliance to the Summit for appropriate action against Zimbabwe. The Summit, however, has done nothing concrete to ensure that the Tribunal’s decisions are enforced in Zimbabwe. Instead, in an unexpected move that sent shockwaves through the SADC region and beyond, the Summit suspended the Tribunal and resolved that it should neither receive nor adjudicate any cases. During the SADC summit in August 2014, a Protocol on the Tribunal in the Southern African Development Community was adopted and signed (the 2014 Protocol). In terms of this Protocol the iii jurisdiction of the (new) Tribunal will be limited to inter-state disputes. Unfortunately, it also does not provide any transitional measures to address issues such as the manner to deal with pending cases and the enforcement of judgments. When it comes to the execution and enforcement of judgments, it can be argued that the 2014 Protocol is largely a replica of the original 2000 Tribunal Protocol. The reason for this is that the envisaged mechanisms to enforce the decisions of the new Tribunal is to a large extent similar to the previous one. Unsatisfied over the non-compliance with the decision by Zimbabwe, the litigants approached the South African courts to enforce the Tribunal’s decision in South Africa.1 The South African courts found that South Africa is obliged under the SADC Treaty to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the decisions of the Tribunal are enforced, and ruled against Zimbabwe. However, the decision is yet to be enforced. The non-compliance with the judgments and a lack of mechanisms to enforce the decisions of the Tribunal, are crucial issues as they undermine the authority of the Tribunal. This thesis explores whether the Tribunal acted within its mandate in receiving and hearing a human rights case. It further considers whether, in the absence of a human rights mandate, the Tribunal enjoys implied powers under international law to invoke the powers necessary for the fulfilment of the objectives set out in the Treaty. It also reviews the concept of state sovereignty and the extent to which it has been affected by human rights norms post-World War II; regionalism; and globalisation. An important aspect examined, is the relationship between SADC Community law and the national law of member states. The relationship between national courts and the Tribunal also receives attention. Ultimately, the discourse addresses compliance and enforcement of the Tribunal’s decisions in the context of international law. To the extent relevant, I draw on other regional (the European Court of Justice) and sub-regional (the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, and the East African Court of Justice) courts to establish how they have dealt with human rights jurisdiction and the enforcement of their judgments. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (ix, 269 leaves) en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject SADC Tribunal en
dc.subject Human rights jurisdiction en
dc.subject State sovereignty en
dc.subject Enforcement of judgments en
dc.subject SADC Community law en
dc.subject International law en
dc.subject Domestic law en
dc.subject.ddc 341.249
dc.subject.lcsh Southern African Development Community en
dc.subject.lcsh International and municipal law en
dc.subject.lcsh Sovereignty en
dc.subject.lcsh Jurisdiction (International law) en
dc.subject.lcsh Jurisdiction -- Africa, Southern en
dc.subject.lcsh International courts en
dc.subject.lcsh Courts -- Africa, Southern en
dc.subject.lcsh Judgments -- Africa, Southern en
dc.subject.lcsh Human rights -- Africa, Southern en
dc.title The SADC tribunal : its jurisdiction, enforcement of its judgments and the sovereignty of its member states en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Jurisprudence en LL. D.

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