INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE SUPPRESSION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF APARTHEID (1973) applies to situations other than South Africa

The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (hereinafter Apartheid Convention) has it roots in the opposition of the United Nations to the discriminatory racial policies of the South African Government – known as apartheid – which lasted from 1948 to 1990. Apartheid was annually condemned by the General Assembly as contrary to Articles 55 and 56 of the Charter of the United Nations from 1952 until 1990; and was regularly condemned by the Security Council after 1960. In 1966, the General Assembly labelled apartheid as a crime against humanity (resolution 2202 A (XXI) of 16 December 1966) and in 1984 the Security Council endorsed this determination (resolution 556 (1984) of 23 October 1984). The Apartheid Convention was the ultimate step in the condemnation of apartheid as it not only declared that apartheid was unlawful because it violated the Charter of the United Nations, but in addition it declared apartheid to be criminal. The Apartheid Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 November 1973, by 91 votes in favour, four against (Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 26 abstentions. It came into force on 18 July 1976. As of August 2008, it has been ratified by 107 States.

Professor John Dugard on the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the crime of Apartheid: “The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (hereinafter Apartheid Convention) has it roots in the opposition of the United Nations to the discriminatory racial policies of the South African Government – known as apartheid – which lasted from 1948 to 1990. Apartheid was annually condemned by the General Assembly as contrary to Articles 55 and 56 of the Charter of the United Nations from 1952 until 1990; and was regularly condemned by the Security Council after 1960. In 1966, the General Assembly labelled apartheid as a crime against humanity (resolution 2202 A (XXI) of 16 December 1966) and in 1984 the Security Council endorsed this determination (resolution 556 (1984) of 23 October 1984). The Apartheid Convention was the ultimate step in the condemnation of apartheid as it not only declared that apartheid was unlawful because it violated the Charter of the United Nations, but in addition it declared apartheid to be criminal. The Apartheid Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 November 1973, by 91 votes in favour, four against (Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 26 abstentions. It came into force on 18 July 1976. As of August 2008, it has been ratified by 107 States… That the Apartheid Convention is intended to apply to situations other than South Africa is confirmed by its endorsement in a wider context in instruments adopted before and after the fall of apartheid. In 1977, Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 recognized apartheid as a “grave breach” of the Protocol (art. 85, paragraph 4 (c)) without any geographical limitation. Apartheid features as a crime in the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind adopted by the International Law Commission on first reading in 1991 without any reference to South Africa and in 1996 the Draft Code adopted on second reading recognized institutionalized racial discrimination as species of crime against humanity in article 18 (f) and explained in its commentary that this “is in fact the crime of apartheid under a more general denomination”(Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session (A/51/10), p. 49). In 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court included the “crime of apartheid” as a form of crime against humanity (art. 7). It may be concluded that the Apartheid Convention is dead as far as the original cause for its creation – apartheid in South Africa – is concerned, but that it lives on as a species of the crime against humanity, under both customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” [1].

 

[1]. John Dugard, “International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the crime of Apartheid”, Audiovuisal Librayr of International Law: http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/cspca/cspca.html .


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