South African Yearbook of International Law

The South African Yearbook of International Law is the only South African journal devoted solely to international law. Published annually since 1975 by the VerLoren van Themaat Centre for Public Law Studies at Unisa, issues from 2014 onwards are published by Juta.
The South African Yearbook of International Law is a well-received, peer-reviewed journal, with an outstanding group of Editors and Editorial Board. Accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training, The South African Yearbook of International Law is the leading reference source on the development of international law in South Africa and covers a wide variety of current topics in international law.


Editors in Chief

Professor Dire Tladi

 

Professor Dire Tladi

Dire Tladi is a professor of international law at the University of Pretoria and a member of the UN International Law Commission. He is also Special Advisor to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

Prof A Ferreira-Snyman

 

Prof A Ferreira-Snyman

Professor A Ferreira-Snyman is a Professor of Law at the Department of Jurisprudence.

 


Editorial Board

Prof G Abraham

 

Prof G Abraham

Professor G Abraham is an Associate Professor of Public International Law. (St Augustine College)

Prof J Baloro

 

Prof J Baloro

Professor J Baloro is the Executive Dean for College of Law. (University of Namibia)

 

Prof NJ Botha

 

Prof NJ Botha

Professor Botha is an emeritus Professor of International Law at the University of South Africa.

Prof DM Chirwa

 

Prof DM Chirwa

Professor DM Chirwa is Head of the Department of Public Law. (University of Cape Town)

 

Adv S de Wet

 

Adv S de Wet

Advocate S de Wet is the Chief State Law Advisor of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa. (Department of International Relations and Cooperation)

Prof M du Plessis

 

Prof M du Plessis

Professor M du Plessis is an Associate Professor of School of Law and an advocate of the High Court of South Africa. (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

 

Prof GM Ferreira

 

Prof GM Ferreira

Professor GM Ferreira is a Professor of Law who specializes in Public International Law. (North West University, Potchesfstroom Campus)

Prof S Gutto

 

Prof S Gutto

Professor Gutto is a Professor and Editor at the Institute for African Renaissance Studies. (UNISA)

 

Prof D Hamman

 

Prof D Hamman

Deborah Hamman is a Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law. (University of the Western Cape)

Prof L Juma

 

Prof L Juma

Professor Juma teaches in the areas of property law, customary law and public international law. (Rhodes University)

 

Prof G Kemp

 

Prof G Kemp

Professor Gerhard P Kemp is a Professor of Law who specializes in International Criminal Law. (Stellenbosch University)

Prof D Kotze

 

Prof D Kotze

Professor Kotze is currently head of School of Political Science at UNISA.

 

Prof AMB Mangu

 

Prof AMB Mangu

Professor Mangu is a research professor at the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law. Prof Mangu’s research specialisation is in (African Comparative) Constitutional Law, Human Rights Law and Public International Law. (UNISA)

Mr Arnold Pronto

 

Mr Arnold Pronto

Mr Arnold Pronto is a Principal Legal Officer in the United Nations Office for Legal Affairs, Codification Division. He serves as Deputy Secretary of the UN International Law Commission and the Sixth Committee.

 

Prof HA Strydom

 

Prof HA Strydom

Professor Hennie Strydom is a Professor at the Faculty of Law at University of Johannesburg. He teaches Public International Law.

Prof AEAM Thomashausen

 

Prof AEAM Thomashausen

Professor Thomashausen is a professor of international law at the University of South Africa.

 

Prof F Viljoen

 

Prof F Viljoen

Prof F Viljoen is a Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria and Director at the Centre for Human Rights.

Prof PHG Vrancken

 

Prof PHG Vrancken

Professor is an incumbent of the South African Research Chair in the Law of the Sea and Development in Africa at the Department Public Law. (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)

 


ARMED CONFLICT AND THE ENVIRONMENT: PERSPECTIVES FROM AFRICAN UNION LAW
C KENTARO* W SCHOLTZ**
Abstract
During armed conflict the environment suffers both as a result of deliberate damage as a strategy of war, as well as through collateral harm. The intersection between the jus in bello (international humanitarian law) (‘IHL’) and international environmental law (‘IEL’), with the aim of addressing environmental harm as a result of armed conflict, is a relatively recent development. It was traditionally believed that the laws of war and peacetime laws were mutually exclusive. For decades the African continent has suffered the effects of armed conflict disproportionately, which implies that so too has the natural environment in Africa suffered these effects disproportionately. The aim of this article is to make a two-fold contribution. First, it provides a summation of the protection afforded to the environment during armed conflict by IHL and IEL in order to illuminate the shortcomings of the latter. Secondly, it undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the African regional legal framework of environmental protection in relation to armed conflict. This will determine how regional law in Africa may serve to complement the international legal regime in order to strengthen the protection of the environment during armed conflict on the continent. Furthermore, this analysis may also provide informative lessons for the current international law discourse on environmental protection during armed conflict. We conclude the article with brief remarks and recommendations.
Key words: Environmental protection, armed conflict, African regional environmental protection

THE USE OF CITIZENSHIP AND NATIONALITY AS INSTRUMENTS OF CONTROL
GM FERREIRA* MP FERREIRA-SNYMAN**
Abstract
During the past few years the international spotlight has fallen sharply on the curtailment, withdrawal and total denial of citizenship and nationality by states. The renewed interest shown in these issues is, amongst others, a result of China’s policy to curb its population growth and prevent the movement of its population from rural to urban areas, as well as the United Kingdom’s efforts to protect its population against the scourges of international terrorism based on religious grounds. To these examples the refusal of Burma (Myanmar) to recognise certain minority religious groups as citizens of the state, may be added. In all these instances the states in question acted in a way that brought them into conflict with international human rights law. It is the aim of this contribution to, on the one hand, establish to what extent states (in this instance particularly China, the United Kingdom and Burma) use the curtailment, withdrawal or denial of citizenship and nationality as instruments to exercise control over their populations in order to obtain certain objectives, and, on the other hand, to establish what the influence of these actions would be on the phenomenon of statelessness. It is concluded that an unjustifiable limitation of the rights of citizens, or in the worst of cases a total denial, is not compatible with international human rights law and must be seen as a serious setback for the establishment of an international human rights culture. In order to create legal certainty on both the national and international levels, it is submitted that the vague concepts of citizenship and statelessness should be redefined and that a core minimum of rights, implied by citizenship and nationality, should be determined internationally.
Key words: Citizenship, nationality, state authority, population control, China, United Kingdom, Burma

THE HUMAN SECURITY DIMENSIONS OF EBOLA AND THE ROLE OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL IN FIGHTING HEALTH PANDEMICS: SOME REFLECTIONS ON RESOLUTION 2177/2014 I
R PAVONE*
Abstract
During 2014–2015 an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) ravaged the West Africa region, which led to the World Health Organisation (‘WHO’) formally declaring the outbreak a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in turn, adopted resolution 2177, which for the first time in history, considered a health epidemic ‘a threat to international peace and security’ under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. In particular, the UNSC maintained that the situation would be susceptible to provoking ‘further instances of civil unrest, social tensions and deterioration of the political and security climate’ in West Africa. While it is too early to establish the concrete impact of resolution 2177 on the future UNSC practice with regard to infectious diseases, this resolution is evidence that health issues have become increasingly ‘securitised’ within the UN system. It may also suggest that the UNSC is continuing to expand the notion of a threat to international peace and security under international law ‘to align more closely with a human security framework’. This contribution engages with both the positive and negative aspects to the UNSC’s classification of Ebola as a threat to peace and security. In particular, the implications of the framing of health pandemics as international security issues in terms of human rights protection through the risk of overriding the civil and political rights of those affected by an infectious disease, is discussed. This raises the question whether EVD is a matter beyond the powers of the UNSC or more properly a matter for other organs of the UN system. The validity of this theory is analysed in depth, whereafter I offer reasons why the process of securitisation of climate change failed and was highly criticised – in the main by developing countries – while Ebola did not elicit a similar response.
Key words: Ebola, West Africa, UN Security Council, resolution 2177, health epidemics, health pandemics

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS
ANTAL BERKES*
Abstract
Armed opposition groups (‘AOGs’), as non-state parties to an armed conflict, are partial subjects of international law in that they have rights and obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL), international criminal law, and arguably under international human rights law (IHRL). Nevertheless, this notwithstanding, positive international law has not codified rules on the international responsibility of armed opposition groups as such, and there are no judicial mechanisms reviewing their conduct as collective entities. I argue here that despite the absence of written rules and judicial procedures engaging the responsibility of AOGs, there is a wide- ranging practice among states and international organisations to recognise and develop the concept of responsibility for armed opposition groups as such. However, it must be stressed that the detailed rules governing the consequences of such responsibility are not clear, and the analysed practice consists of non-judicial mechanisms. In the first part of this discussion, I argue that international law recognises the concept of the responsibility of AOGs notwithstanding its un-codified status. In the second part, I review selected accountability mechanisms which condemn the internationally unlawful conduct of AOGs. These institutions, which could be termed ‘mechanisms for the accountability of AOGs’ – reading accountability in the wider sense of responsibility – are likely to hold armed opposition groups accountable for their unlawful acts, albeit outside of the framework of judicial procedures binding AOGs. I here investigate effective, existing institutions involved in the responsibility of AOGs in positive international law, with a special regard to the current armed conflicts on the African continent involving AOGs such as Boko Haram, M23, Forces Démocratiques Alliées/Armée Nationale de Liberation de l’Ouganda, le Mouvement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (‘MUJAO’) or Ansar Eddine, to mention only the principal players.
Key words: Armed opposition groups, non-state actors, responsibility, accountability

TACKLING THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY: CAUSES, CHALLENGES AND RESPONSES
MICHAEL ADDANEY*
Abstract
Over the past five years, a wide ambit of narratives has been proffered on the Boko Haram insurgence in northern Nigeria, particularly its causes and possible solutions. Most of these narratives conflict and thus compete with one another. This is effectively making it difficult for the government of Nigeria and the international community to devise a clearcut approach to deal with the crisis. It has also played an immense role in worsening the relationship between the predominantly Muslim North and the mainly Christian South. This paper critically tests a number of existing narratives that seek both to explain the origins of Boko Haram and propose solutions. It does this through a meta-analysis and critical content analysis of literature as well as information from both local and international media sources. It is organised under two commanding schools of thought: (i) the human development theory and (ii) the Islamic- state theory. Without doubt, the Boko Haram phenomenon is extremely complex. Yet these two theoretical explanations of the insurgence have a significant influence on public thinking about the crisis. While the Islamicstate theory seems to be mainly advanced by the locals who are mostly civilians (Nigerians), the West tends to think that human development issues of poverty are more important. It was found that there was no specific authoritative way of thinking about the crisis in terms of its causes. The study is designed to play an instrumental role in finding a sustainable solution for the crisis in a modest way. In terms of solutions, however, a military intervention through force is suitable should dialogue fail by March 2015.
Key Words: Boko Haram, insurgency, security, conflict, Jihad, Nigeria

ASSESSING THE LEGALITY OF CAMEROON’S RESPONSES TO BOKO HARAM ATTACKS ON CAMEROONIAN TERRITORY
AVITUS AGBOR*
Abstract
States, as the principal actors of international law, owe duties to both other states and their peoples. Among these duties are the protection of its national territory, its peoples, and their national interests. These duties are sacrosanct and constitute the primary responsibility of any responsible government. In cases of armed attack launched against a sovereign state, international law clearly grants the state under attack the right to defend itself. The use of force in the exercise of the right of self-defence is governed by article 51 of the United Nations (UN) Charter, the substantive content of which has triggered considerable debate. I argue that the recent armed attacks launched by the Nigerianbased terrorist network, Boko Haram, on Cameroonian soil qualify as both aggression and mass atrocities. This compels the state to fulfil its primary mandate to protect its people. In consequence, Cameroon’s responses have been varied including the adoption of counter-terrorism legislation; diplomatic engagements with neighbouring states such as Chad, Benin and Niger and the resulting establishment of a Regional Multinational Joint Task Force; and a military counter-offensive against Boko Haram to contain and repel the Nigerian-based terrorist group. Given the diversity of these responses, one may ask whether they are justified in international law? This paper seeks to answer this question by assessing the legality of each of Cameroon’s responses in the light of international law and counter-terrorism measures.
Key Words: Boko Haram, Cameroon, security, conflict, Nigeria

RESPONDING TO BOKO HARAM: WHY THE AFRICAN UNION MUST LEAD THE FIGHT AGAINST THE INSURGENCY
SWIKANI NCUBE*
Abstract
This contribution argues that the decision to authorise the establishment of the Multinational Joint Task force (MNJTF) could not have come at a better time. Furthermore, it argues that the mandate of the MNJTF is comprehensive enough to bring stability to the Lake Chad region and is evidence of the African Union’s (AU) commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism on the continent. The first part of the paper gives a contextual background to the ‘Boko Haram’ insurgency while the second part outlines the Nigerian government and the international community’s response to the insurgency. The third section discusses the mandate of the MNJTF and further outlines reasons why the establishment of the Force is a timely intervention by the AU. This is followed by concluding remarks. The paper does not attempt to define terrorism as there are numerous definitions of the phenomenon; however, it proceeds from the premise that the activities of Boko Haram constitute terrorism.
Key Words: African Union, Boko Haram, security, conflict, Nigeria