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Former South Africa President, Jacob Zuma, fails at another attempt to stop corruption charges

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Former South African president,  Jacob Zuma has failed at another appeal attempt to further delay his corruption trial which is due to resume in April as the Supreme Court of Appeal has rejected his latest bid.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made the disclosure on Thursday.

Mr. Zuma’s corruption trial began last year in May, after numerous postponements and delays due to a number of appeals. Last year, the country’s highest Constitutional Court in South Africa sentenced Zuma to 15 months imprisonment after he failed to appear at the Zondo corruption inquiry despite being instructed to do so.

The former president approached the Supreme Court of Appeal last month following the dismissal of his bid to have State advocate Billy Downer removed from his corruption case but that appeal was struck out.

“The NPA welcomes this ruling and will now work to ensure that the trial resumes on April 11, 2022,” it said in a statement.

Last month, slamreportafrica.com reported that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment of jurist Raymond Zondo as the country’s head of the constitutional court, the country’s highest court. The appointment, which was made after a public selection process, will take effect from today, April 1, 2021.

Jacob Zuma was elected president of South Africa in 2009, As president, he launched the R4-trillion National Infrastructure Plan and signed a controversial nuclear power deal with the Russian government, blocked by the Western Cape High Court in 2017.

The 79-year-old former head of state is accused of taking bribes from French defense group Thales in a case that is more than 20 years old. He is charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering. Thales is also charged with bribery and money laundering.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Ghannouchi begins hunger strike

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has begun a hunger strike in support of other opposition activists who are fasting in protest and calling for their immediate release.

Ghannouchi had threatened to go on a hunger strike in September, and a group of opposition lawyers representing him confirmed the strike had finally begun on Monday.

The 82-year  the leader of the main opposition group Ennahda and a ferocious opponent of President Kais Saied, was imprisoned last year on allegations of inciting violence against law enforcement and scheming to undermine national security.

In a different case earlier this month, a judge found him guilty of taking outside funding and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The lawyers said in a statement that “While he is fighting the ’empty stomach’ battle, Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to adhere to a democratic Tunisia that includes everyone on the basis of freedom … and the independence of the judiciary.”

An indefinite hunger strike was launched this week by six opposition leaders who were detained during a crackdown last year in protest of their detention without charge or trial and in demand of their prompt release. The jailed leaders, Jawher Ben Mbarak, Rida Belhaj, Abdelhamid Jalasi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, and Khayam Turki, were taken into custody on charges of allegedly arranging an attack on state security.

President Saied has been adamant about suppressing dissenting opinions in the nation ever since taking office. In 2023, over 20 political figures were detained, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

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