Address to reception hosted by South
African Mission in the Netherlands for key stakeholders,
22 September 2003
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a tremendous privilege to be in the Netherlands
given the support given by the people of this country
to us during the struggle against apartheid. This evening
we celebrate our superb relations and recommit ourselves
to work even harder to deepen our historical relationship
with this country.
This great country has had a long tradition in supporting
multilateralism. The great Dutch Scholar, Hugo de Groot,
was one of the first to develop the idea that we today
call multilateralism, and laid the foundation of many
of the principles that are fundamental to how nations
relate to each other.
Just after the Second World War, nations of the world
made a collective vow to do their utmost to prevent
a repeat of the horror of war, and founded the United
Nations, based on multilateralism, a system of global
governance that should bind us all.
This country, and indeed this city, plays a central
role in this system of multilateralism. The Hague has
become the "legal capital" of the world, first
as the seat of the International Court of Justice, and
then in time, of a number of other important multilateral
Earlier this year, my colleague Dr Penuell Maduna,
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development,
attended the inauguration of the International Criminal
Court, the latest multilateral legal institution to
be based in The Hague.
South Africa has been one of the first to ratify the
Treaty of Rome and we are very proud that a South African,
Judge Pillay, was chosen to be one of the judges of
the ICC. We are also particularly pleased to note the
gender balance of the ICC.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would be aware of the new
approach to governance and new way of doing things being
adopted in the African continent. The African Union
and its key programmes, such as the New Partnership
for Africa's development, are aimed at placing African
countries on a new path of sustainable development.
This includes the need to resolve the conflicts plaguing
We are tying to play our own role in conflict resolution
in countries such as Burundi, Democratic Republic of
Congo and others. The AU is sending a strong message
that the days of tolerating coups, and the wanton disregard
of human rights are over.
We believe in negotiated solutions. But we also believe
that there should be sanctions, and if need be, there
should be the possibility to charge those guilty of
crimes against humanity before an international court,
the International Criminal Court.
The establishment of the International Court of Justice
was an acknowledgement of the need for an international
court. The ICC has been the next logical step in enhancing
Let us all work hard to strengthen multilateralism
and discourage unilateralism, which destabilises international
Thank you for your support of South Africa, we value
I thank you.