A key principle of South Africa’s foreign policy is to contribute to the formulation of international law and the enhancement of respect for its provisions. In line with this policy objective the South African Embassy is actively engaged with the international legal organisations based in The Hague. The Embassy is responsible for diplomatic engagement as well as providing legal advice on issues pertaining to the legal organisations based in The Hague.
The increased interdependence between States in an increasingly complex world requires intergovernmental cooperation, with diplomacy and international law being the key instruments. The importance of international law in enhancing a rule-based international order has become increasingly relevant, resulting in a proliferation in the fields of regulation and judicial organs. These developments have further enhanced the importance of the key principle of South Africa’s strategic foreign policy objective to promote multilateralism to secure a rules base international system as well as to contribute to the formulation of international law and enhancing respect for its provisions.
The Embassy is responsible for monitoring developments and cases of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), one of the five organs of the United Nations and the ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the UN’s principal court. (www.icj-cij.org)
The Hague is also the seat of the International Criminal Court, the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court with the purpose to help end impunity by bringing to justice the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. South Africa is a member of the Bureau of The Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court and the Embassy is an active role player in The Hague Working Group of the Assembly of States Parties. The Embassy continuously monitors developments within the ICC, its judicial activities as well as policy and administrative issues related to the Court. (www.icc-cpi.int)
South Africa has implemented its obligations under the Rome Statute domestically in terms of The Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act 27 of 2002.
The South African Embassy is also actively engaged with the other legal international organisations based in The Hague including:
- Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) (www.pca-cpa.org)
- Hague Conference on Private International Law, (HCCH) (www.hcch.net)
- Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) (www.sc-sl.org)
- Special Tribunal for Lebanon (www.stl-tsl.org)
- International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (www.icty.org)
- Iran-United States Claims Tribunal (www.iusct.org)
- The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (www.ictr.org)
Many academic institutions in the fields of international relations, international law and international development are also based in The Hague.