International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has concluded a successful working visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands today, Thursday, 19 November 2015, where she led a South African delegation to the 14th Session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is taking place in The Hague from 18-26 November 2015.
The Assembly of States Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane delivered South Africa’s opening statement during the General Debate of the Assembly of States Parties on Thursday, 18 November 2015. The Minister outlined the legal and political challenges faced by a country like South Africa that is engaged in peace efforts throughout the Continent, while also trying to balance its legal and political obligations and duties in accordance with Articles 97, 98 and 27 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
In this regard, South Africa requested that the Assembly of States Parties deliberate on these challenges in order to reach an understanding. The Assembly of States Parties will consider this question on Friday, 20 November 2015. Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha will lead the South African delegation to this meeting.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane stated that: “As a State Party to the Rome Statute, we want to make sure that the ICC lives up to the purposes it was created for. This is our Court and we have a responsibility to interrogate whether this institution is still reflective of the principles and values which guided its creation.”
While in The Hague, the Minister also held meetings with organs of the Court and other dignitaries on various aspects relating to the International Criminal Court. They included the President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernandez; and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms Fatou Bensouda, among others.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane met with the Organisation on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü at the OPCW Headquarters in The Hague. The Director-General praised South Africa’s contribution to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), noting in particular the strong support of South Africa to the OPCW’s Africa Programme.
Prior to her departure from The Hague, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane held bilateral consultations with her counterpart, Mr Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Ministers discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern.
Following the bilateral talks, the Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)on the Establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) that would provide structure to the cordial, strong historical relations that exist between South Africa and the Netherlands. The MOU covers all areas of cooperation such as water management, energy, logistics, maritime skills development, education, science and technology, arts and culture, and trade, among others.
Mr Clayson Monyela
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS