SADC Tribunal emasculated

SADC Tribunal to be revived but excludes citizen access

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

19 August 2018

According to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, the SADC Tribunal is to be revived but without the right to interfere in the sovereignty of member states.

Notes from the news clip:

The Namibian president, Dr Hage G. Geingob, who is also the new SADC chairman, said that the SADC Tribunal court is not being abolished but it has been restructured.  It will focus on disputes among member states and any citizens’ disputes will be handled within the member states.

Pressure groups are challenging the new SADC chairman to reinstate the SADC Tribunal in its former form which allowed access to citizens of countries when they had failed to receive justice in their own countries. The SADC Tribunal was closed down in 2012 after a Zimbabwean commercial farmer, Mike Campbell, took his case to the Tribunal which ruled in his favour.

Ronny Dempers, Executive Director of the Namibia Development Trust, said that in this very weak form, the Tribunal would only be a ceremonial body that might not help them very much. He said that our institutions need to be credible, legitimate and able to be trusted when SADC citizens have issues they need to bring there.

The 2012 SADC Protocol excludes the jurisdiction of citizens of SADC member states to challenge court decisions of other member states.