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File photo: Lusa
The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has applied to be admitted as ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) at the hearing of former minister Manuel Chang’s extradition case, an organisation source told Lusa on Monday.
“Our request is for [the Foundation] to be admitted at the hearing as ‘amicus curiae’ as the case raises important constitutional and international law issues on which we are well placed to assist the court,” Legal Counsellor for the Helen Suzman Foundation Anton van Dalsen says.
In response to written questions from the Lusa news agency, van Dalsen said that the organisation named after the former South African anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman “is of the opinion that there are important legal arguments that do not seem to be adequately addressed in the documents [submitted to South African organs of justice].”
If admitted as a friend of the court at the hearing at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, the Helen Suzman Foundation will urge the South African state to “take action” in light of the country’s Constitution.
“The Constitution [of the Republic of South Africa] requires the State to take reasonable steps to ensure that persons accused of committing crimes, including corruption, are detained, arrested and/or tried in a forum having jurisdiction over the alleged perpetrator and that has shown the will and the ability to sue,” he indicated.
“It is constitutionally inadmissible that the minister were to align and accede to the Mozambican [extradition] request without being sure that this request, rather than the US request, would guarantee accountability,” he said.
“The HSF will also spell out the duties of the new minister, so as to review and nullify the mistakes made by the former minister through a self-review,” van Dalsen added.
According to the schedule of proceedings agreed on Monday and disclosed to the parties yesterday by the Gauteng High Court, to which Lusa has had access, the Foundation’s intervention “is dependent on the documentation submitted by Mozambique” and also on a decision to that effect by Manuel Chang.
The Gauteng High Court has scheduled the hearing on the extradition case of the former Mozambican finance minister for October 16 and 17, to be presided over by Judge Dunstan Mlambo, the statement notes.
The US request for the arrest and extradition of Manuel Chang, detained in South Africa since December 29, is related to his role in providing guarantees from the former Mozambican government in the contracting of about US$2 billion in loans in favour of public maritime safety and fishing companies, in alleged breach of obligations to Mozambique’s Assembly of the Republic and Administrative Court.Source: Lusa