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Judge Qinisile goes international

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MBABANE - Justice Qinisile Mabuza has been elected as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

She was elected into the judicial club in a special ballot that was conducted by the organisation in January and February 2013.

The judge of the High Court of Swaziland will serve as an ICJ Commissioner for a five-year term that began on March 1, 2013 and ends on February 28, 2018.

Her appointment does not mean though that she would leave the country or her post at the High Court where she serves as a judge.

She joins 60 commissioners pooled by the ICJ from across the world and their president is Proffesor Sir Nigel Rodley from the United Kingdom. The commissioners comprise lawyers, senior judges and academics; all dedicated to ensuring respect for international human rights standards through the law.

This elite club of legal minds has only nine members from the African continent, who include, the newly elected member, justice Mabuza. Commissioners are known for their experience, knowledge and fundamental commitment to human rights. The composition of the Commission aims to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its many legal systems.

According to Mabuza’s letter of appointment dated March 1, 2013, the position of Commissioner involves active participation in the programmes of work of the ICJ. The letter was signed by Wilder Tayler, Secretary General of the organisation.

"Article 4 (2) of the ICJ Statute explains that Commissioners are expected to work actively towards fulfillment of the aims and objectives of the Commission and to assist in the implementation of its programmes, especially for such programmes related to the specific expertise of the Commissioner," reads the letter. These programmes include among other things, country missions or trial observations, representing the ICJ at conferences, speaking to the media on behalf of the ICJ.

They also include providing expert advice to staff of the ICJ particularly in relation to their region and areas of thematic expertise.

Judge Mabuza is a holder of a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

She also has a Master of Laws (specialisation in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure) from the University of South Africa. She was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Swaziland in 2005.

Prior to her appointment to the High Court, Judge Mabuza was a Founding Partner and Attorney at Q.M. Mabuza and Associates.

In 1978, Judge Mabuza became the first Swazi woman to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court of Swaziland.

Between 2002 and 2005, she worked as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Swaziland. Judge Mabuza has also served as a Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Swaziland (1994 – 2005) and as Chairperson of the Swaziland Road Transportation Board (1994 – 1997).

Commenting about her appointment, Mabuza said she was elated, honoured and humbled by her new appointment.

She said all gratitude should go to His Majesty the King who recognised her work and appointed her to the post of judge of the high court.

"I am extremely grateful to the king for having appointed me, otherwise the international community would not have realised and recognised my work," she said.


She further said the appointment was not only important to her but the country at large. "It means we are on track with His Majesty’s dream of attaining First World status in terms of the rule of law. For me, it means I have to work hard and do my part in the country’s quest for First world status," she said.

Mabuza also said she had reported her appointment to Chief Justice, Michael Ramodibedi, who was equally elated about it. "The CJ was happy for me. He said he was grateful that I was raising the country’s name globally in terms of the judiciary," she said.


 As Swazis we must celebrate this appointment. I know gov't won't even buy a quarter page in the Times to congratulate this outstanding Judge who qualifies to the next CJ. Qinisile, we are proud of you madam. We are proud of your judicial ethics and independence of mind; everyone is equal in your court and you don't take directives from somewhere else before deciding on a court verdict. The international law community has spotted this great virtue in you and have uplifted you into the global arena. We say Halala Legal Eagle, you deserve it after all these frustrations you are being subjected to. You make us all proud and the enemies in sheep's clothing very angry!
March 10, 2013, 3:50pm, Lomangwane ka Hhhohho

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