Conference raises awareness on military law

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pretoria - The first International Conference on Military Law in South Africa has raised public awareness of the importance of Military Law in a democracy.

The conference, which ends today at the CSIR International Convention Centre, in Pretoria, further aims to stimulate interest in academic research in this specialised field of Public Law, to strengthen the development of South African Military Law.

The Department of Defence on Friday said a number of international and local academics and military professionals presented research papers regarding the conference theme, which was “Contemporary Military Law”.

The theme was explored with sub-themes relating to International Military Law, Human Rights Law, Operational Law and the Administration of Military Justice. 

The department said the conference was hosted by the South African National Defence Force and the Defence Legal Services Division from Tuesday.

Amongst the speakers who addressed the conference was the retired Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Justice Sandile Ngcobo, who delivered a keynote address analysing South African and international legal developments relating to the institutional independence of military courts.

The department said issues relating to the permissible and legal use of armed force by States, and the legal rules governing soldiers during such armed conflicts were also unpacked. 

Other speakers included Professor Sascha-Dominik Bachmann of Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom; Joel Block of the University of the Witwatersrand; Deputy Legal Counsel to the United States’ Africa Command, Mark Maxwell; Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University, Colonel Pieter Brits; and Acting Chief of the Conduct and Discipline Unit at the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Adama Ndao, among others. -