Earlier this week, Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) lodged its complaint with the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). LFN requested the urgent intervention by the Commission to underpin its intention to stop the continued serious, large-scale, and ongoing human rights abuses in South Africa, resulting from the unlawful and illegal enforcement of the national state of disaster in this country.
Last year LFN, joined by its President Reyno De Beer, challenged the NSD and the regulations flowing from it. The case led to the legendary court order by the High Court in Pretoria which declared almost all of the so-called Covid-19 regulations unconstitutional and invalid. The original order came legally into effect during June last year. This rendered all of the “lockdown – restrictions” null and void.
In July this year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) followed the Governments’ intentions and delivered a judgment which, while legally invalid, nevertheless sided with the official and deceitful narrative and upheld the appeal by the South African government. LFN’s complaint before the African Union challenges the local courts’ disregard of key legal arguments on which LFN relied in support of its arguments but which were ignored by the courts. LFN says that this, likely intentional, rejection materially contributed to the human rights abuses that were – and are – meted out by the government to the people of South Africa.
“While the original court order effectively came into operation on 24 June 2020, Government illegally continued to enforce it,” confirmed the President of LFN. “When we complained about it, the courts ignored vital arguments. The same bias we observed when we tried to fend off the government’s intentions to appeal the judgment. Which actually was not appealable at all, at least not in the way they did it. We say: when our arguments were ignored, the law was broken again. This is not acceptable.”
“Not only was our Government unable to produce any information to prove the existence of this alleged novel disease, it even violated the prescribed procedures to declare and execute a national state of disaster, as if nothing, except the unholy objective of the government, would matter at all,” he says.
Worldwide, LFN’s challenge is the first and only one that concerns any COVID-19 measures and the abuse of human rights resulting from it, which completed the full legal circle in its home country and then procedurally correct reached an international forum. “In order to refer such a complaint to an international body like the African Union Commission, one needs to provide evidence that one has exhausted all local remedies. LFN is the only organisation in the world that actually did this. We started at the High Court, then moved to the SCA and stopped twice at the Constitutional Court,” says De Beer.
Right now, LFN’s matter is indeed the most important legal process in the world. Its outcome will affect all citizens of the 55 member states of the African Union, having subscribed to the African Charter. The complaint will also have a major effect on all of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, pending the outcome of the process and the possible legal actions to flow from it. In the event that a friendly settlement of the dispute cannot be achieved, the Commission may refer the matter for adjudication to an international court. By the same token, this complaint is also the first one of this kind to the Commission. When dealing with it, the Commission must necessarily interpret and apply the African Charter and would be bound to uphold its intentions, instead of simply accepting a storyline, which is something the South African courts are guilty of, according to LFN. Either way, the outcome of this matter will impact distinctly on the lives of more than 2.9 billion people, living in more than one hundred countries, and their continued ability to enjoy their basic human rights.
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