Don’t grant immunity to government leaders

The DA has strongly urged the South African delegation to reject the draft proposal to grant immunity to sitting government leaders before Africa’s regional court for crimes against humanity.

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Justice Ministers and Attorney-Generals of African Union (AU) member countries are scheduled to meet in Ethiopia on the 15th and 16th May 2014 to consider a draft proposal to, in part, absolve sitting African leaders form their part in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The DA contends that granting sitting heads of state and senior government officials immunity from the jurisdiction of African courts would be an exercise in shielding these leaders from accountability and, in effect, permit such leaders to perpetuate these human rights abuses.

If passed, this proposal would serve no other purpose than to bolster the incentive to hold on to power and undermine the fight for human rights on the continent.

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To vote in favour of this draft proposal would, in fact, suggest that South Africa sees its own leaders as being above the law which is a dangerous precedent and does not reflect the ethics and rule of law enshrined in our constitution.

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Following a slew of scandals and abuses of power by our own government, it is critically important for the South African delegation to reject this proposal in its formative stages and send a message that South Africa is committed to fighting human rights abuses on its own soil and on the continent at large.

If the ruling party in government is serious about combating corruption and abuses of state power they must oppose this proposal in the strongest terms possible.

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