Annual Bernstein Lecture

September 7, 2011Duke Law News

Constitutionalism, Rights, and International Law: The Glenister Decision
Justice Edwin Cameron
Thursday, September 8, 2011
12:30 - 1:20 pm
Room 3041 • Duke Law School

Abstract

Since it was handed down on 17 March 2011, the judgment of South Africa's Constitutional Court in Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa has received both acclaim and criticism from legal scholars, political analysts and civic-minded South Africans. A narrow majority of the Court upheld a challenge to the constitutional validity of legislation that disbanded the country’s elite corruption-fighting unit. The majority’s pivotal finding was that the obligation to create an independent corruption-fighting unit, a requirement of international law, also had direct domestic constitutional effect. By cutting through the theoretical divide regarding the relationship between international and national law and placing clear reliance on the South African Constitution’s own invocation of international law, the majority judgment demands that there be consonance, not dissonance, between what the government says and does internationally and what it says and does domestically.

Click here to view or download a copy of the judgment.

Click here for a summary of the legal issues addressed in the judgment.

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Other events featuring Justice Cameron


Constitutionalism and Diversity: Sexual Orientation in South Africa
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Franklin Humanities Institute, C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center, Sexuality Studies, the LGBTI Center, the Concilium on Southern Africa, and the Center for International and Comparative Law

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Stigma and AIDS: the Personal and the Political
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Room 240, John Hope Franklin Center

Co-sponsored by the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), Duke University Center for International Studies (DUCIS), the Center for International and Comparative Law, and Center for LGBT Life

View webcast

Biography

Edwin Cameron has been a Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, since January 1, 2009. He was educated at Pretoria Boys’ High School, Stellenbosch and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and won the top academic awards. During apartheid, he was a leading human rights lawyer. President Mandela appointed him a judge in 1994. He was a powerful critic of President Mbeki’s AIDS-denialist policies and wrote a prize-winning memoir, Witness to AIDS, which has been published in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and in translation in Germany and in China. He chaired the governing council of the University of the Witwatersrand for more than ten years (1998-2008) and remains involved in many charitable and public causes.

He has received many honors for his legal and human rights work, including a special award by the Bar of England and Wales in 2002 for his ‘contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights.’ He is an honorary fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, London, an honorary fellow of Keble College Oxford (2003), and an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple, London (2008). He holds honorary doctorates in law from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, King’s College London, and the University of Oxford. In June 2012, the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, will confer an honorary doctorate on him.

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