The Meeting of the Ministers of Justice/Attorneys – General convened in Gaborone, Botswana on the 11th - 14th July 2016. The purpose of the meeting was, among others, to approve a Plan of Action for the Committee of Ministers of Justice/Attorneys-General, and to clear draft legal instruments which provide an important cooperation framework for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in areas such as: Trade, Regional Development Fund, Gender and Development.
The first sessions scheduled for the 11th – 13th were attended by Senior Government officials and Senior Legal officials within the SADC region. The meeting of Ministers of Justice/Attorneys –General subsequently convened on the 14th July 2016. Delivering the remarks during the official opening of the meeting, the Chairperson for SADC Ministers of Justice/ Attorney - General, and also Minister of Defence, Justice and Security for Botswana, Mr. Shaw Kgathi said that the draft legal instruments are critical platforms through which justice may be strengthened within the SADC region. "Justice is a pillar of peace, stability, democratisation and development. Once the Legal Plan of Action is adopted, it covers a wide range of areas for the facilitation of the delivery of the SADC principles within a robust legal framework." Said Minister Kgathi. The Minister further mentioned that the Plan of Action will facilitate cooperation on inter-state matters like mutual legal assistance, trade cooperation, prevention of emerging crimes such as cybercrime, terrorism and human trafficking between Member States.
The meeting also identified legal sector areas in criminal and civil matters on which SADC Member States can build cooperation taking into account the SADC Treaty, Protocols and the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
The week-long meeting considered issues such as the integration of SADC Anti-corruption Committee into the SADC ORGAN Structure, cooperation on financial matters and the operationalization of the SADC regional Development Fund (RDF). The clearance of the amendments to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development also formed part of the deliberations.
The meeting also considered the process and criteria of the selection of the seven (7) Judges for the SADC Administrative Tribunal (SADCAT) as directed and guided by the SADC Council during its meeting in March 2016. The Committee further considered the Draft Annex Cooperation in Financial Markets for the SADC Region, as well as the Draft Agreement amending the Trade Protocol and recommended them to Council for approval subsequent to submission to Summit in August 2016.