The primary purpose of the legal division is to provide in house legal expertise on specific and general questions of international law. Consistent with Legal Notice No. 1/2008, the legal division is custodian and updating of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s treaty collection. It also provides treaty and information service in particular with information on all aspects concerning international agreements such as signature, ratification, accession and entry into force of all international agreements that the Kingdom of Swaziland is a party to. It further provides legal expertise and input to the Ministry with a view to ensuring that within the domestic context, in particular in respect of departmental matters, including policy, the Ministry acts in conformity with domestic law.
PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING LEGAL ADVICE
The division requires that a written request for legal advice be submitted through the office of the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation. A telephonic inquiry service is also provided.
SIGNATURE OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
Ministers and or Officials are sometimes required to sign international agreements that are negotiated, drafted and adopted during conferences. In such cases, an instrument of Full Powers issued by the Head of State, Head of Government or the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a Cabinet Minute will be required. A Cabinet Paper is to be submitted in this regard by the line Ministry concerned. Full powers authorize the Minister/Official to sign an agreement subject to ratification.
PROCEDURE FOR CONCLUDING INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
If the advice sought relates to an international agreement purported to be signed / ratified by the Kingdom of Swaziland, the Ministry seeking to conclude that international agreement must obtain an opinion on the agreement’s consistency with domestic law must be obtained from the Law Office in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. A memorandum is submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with hard and soft copies of a Cabinet Paper for signature by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and for transmittal to Cabinet. The requesting Ministry must also provide 60 copies of the agreement. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will then table the agreement before both houses of Parliament in terms of article 238(2) of the Constitution, 2005. The requesting ministry must provide 120 copies of the agreement. This requirement applies to all agreements that require ratification or accession (usually multilateral agreements), that have financial implications and have legislative or domestic policy implications.
Approval for ratification is required in cases where the country has signed the agreement and it provides for such an instrument. Approval for accession is required where the country has not signed an agreement but can become a party thereto through accession. Instrument of ratification/accession signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is submitted through diplomatic channels to the relevant depositary. An entry into force notification is communicated through diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation