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S/Africa: Zuma’s arrest ‘was patently lawful’ – Foundation

Former South African president Jacob Zuma, who defied the rule of law and disregarded the constitution in his defiance of…

Former South African president Jacob Zuma, who defied the rule of law and disregarded the constitution in his defiance of a court order, would be found to be guilty in any court of law, the Helen Suzman Foundation said here on Friday.“Thus, jailing him was patently lawful,” the foundation said.

The foundation said this in a statement submitted to the Constitutional Court which called on all parties involved in the case to make legal submissions on whether it was “obliged to consider” the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when looking at the fair trial rights under South Africa’s constitution – as well as the right not to be detained without trial.

It noted that as the ultimate guardian and interpreter of the rights in the bill of rights, the Constitutional Court found that the “pressing” and extraordinary facts and circumstances of this case required committal for contempt as necessary – and an appropriate sanction to vindicate a most pressing challenge to the constitution itself.

“This court’s judgment would thus attract deference under the international law principle of subsidiarity,” it said.

“And will be accorded a margin of appreciation for its domestically driven and constitutionally sourced response to an unprecedented affront to the court’s dignity and directed threat to the country’s rule of law,” the foundation pointed out.

It said “further recourse to international human rights law would not have changed this court’s determination.”

According to the foundation, none of the international human rights instruments precludes imprisonment by a court for refusing to comply with a court order, after a duly instituted court proceeding in accordance with existing procedures and laws.

“This court set out clearly and deliberately what the existing procedures and laws were in relation to civil contempt, and applied them to Mr. Zuma,” the foundation said.

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