South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

International legal relations

The main functions of the Chief Directorate: International Legal Relations in the DoJ&CD is to identify and research legal questions that relate to matters pertaining to the administration of justice between South Africa and other countries as well as international bodies and institutions.

The chief directorate is involved in direct liaison and negotiations at administrative and technical level with foreign countries to promote international legal cooperation, and for the possible conclusion of extradition and mutual legal-assistance agreements. The chief directorate also aims to establish greater uniformity between the legal systems of southern African countries, especially within the SADC.

The chief directorate coordinates human rights issues at international level under the auspices of the UN and the African Union.

The functions of the chief directorate are divided into eight broad categories:

Owing to the number of departments and/or institutions involved in the execution of extradition and mutual legal assistance requests, and taking into consideration that diplomatic channels are followed to transmit documents, delays are experienced from time to time.

Provisions are included in extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements to provide for direct communication between central authorities.

The drastic reduction in the turnaround time for the processing of these requests should be a clear indication to the rest of the world that South Africa will neither be a safe haven for fugitives nor a breeding ground for transnational organised crime.

Source: South Africa Yearbook 2018/19