ATC110913: Report on Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Iran on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Iran on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, dated 7 September 2011:
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the request that Parliament approves the ratification of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty between the Republic of South Africa and the Islamic Republic of South Africa, recommends that the House approves the Treaty in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
The Committee reports further as follows:
1. Many years have passed since this Treaty was signed in 2003 and its introduction to Parliament for approval in April this year. Although an explanation was given, the Committee finds the delay most undesirable: Much could have changed in the situation or circumstances of the parties in the intervening years. The time elapsed has also meant that those responsible for concluding the agreement were unable to be present to advise the Committee on the contents. The Committee asks that the Ministry look into the reasons for the delay to ensure that this is an isolated occurrence. The Committee also requests that, in future, those who are responsible for drafting an agreement are present when the Committee considers it.
2. Although the Executive negotiates and signs international agreements, treaties are only binding once Parliament approves them. Parliament’s involvement takes place after an agreement is negotiated and signed, and is mostly limited to either approving or not approving. The Committee believes that consideration needs to be given to the development of a mechanism that will allow parliamentary committees to become involved in discussions, even at an informal level, at a much earlier stage.
Report to be considered.
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