Adalah Proudly Hosts Justice Arthur Chaskalson, President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Benjamin Pogrund, Director of the Yakar Center (Jerusalem) and Former Editor of the Rand Daily Mail


On 23 December 1999, Justice Arthur Chaskalson and Benjamin Pogrund met with Adalah staff, Board members, and other Palestinian lawyers at Adalah’s offices.  Justice Chaskalson, a leading anti-apartheid activist, represented Nelson Mandela in 1963 on charges of treason, for which he avoided the death penalty but was sentenced to life imprisonment.  Justice Chaskalson founded and worked with the Legal Resource Center from 1978-1994, initiating groundbreaking cases against the apartheid regime including challenges against the Pass Laws, forced removals, and the Emergency Laws.  Soon after winning the elections, President Nelson Mandela appointed Arthur Chaskalson to lead the first post-apartheid Constitutional Court of South Africa. Benjamin Pogrund, also a leading voice in South Africa against apartheid, worked as a journalist since the 1960s with Contact and later as the Editor of the Rand Daily Mail, a main newspaper in South Africa.  Benjamin Pogrund specialized in reporting on black African issues, and worked closely with Arthur Chaskalson throughout the years to bring media attention to human rights legal struggle of the black majority in South Africa.  For reporting on and revealing the abysmal prison conditions faced by black South African political prisoners, Ben Pogrund was criminally prosecuted by the South African government.  His new book on the prison cases will be available in the coming months. 

Adalah sincerely welcomes the special interest taken by Justice Chaskalson and Ben Pogrund in our legal work on behalf of the Palestinian minority in Israel.  Much of our discussion focused on the legal strategies and tactics in fighting the apartheid regime used by the Legal Resource Center, the workings and findings of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission, and the role of the media in reporting on human rights violations. Similarities between the work of the LRC and Adalah, as well as the political questions raised by lawyering on behalf of subordinated groups were drawn and explored by the participants.  Adalah appreciates the opportunity to know Justice Chaskalson and Ben Pogrund, and anticipates long-standing future dialogue and cooperation.