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Meeting on Decriminalization and Declassification of Petty Offences in Africa
PALU has recently become involved in an international campaign that seeks to decriminalize and declassify petty offences across Africa. Criminalization and penalization of petty offences is rampant across Africa. A lot of these laws emanated from the colonial era, and were designed to segregate and separate communities for the purposes of oppression and suppression. These laws are usually vaguely drafted, overly broad, and are mostly used to achieve selfish political agenda. Victims of such practices are often subjected to arbitrary arrests, excessive and abusive use of power while in police custody and pre-trial detention. Research in Malawi has shown that offences, such as loitering, are routinely used as a reason to arrest sex workers, the homeless and persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities. Such research has been conducted or is in the process in several countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
On 8 and 9 December 2014, Civil Society Organizations met for a country specific meeting in Kenya. The aim of the meeting was to foster a broader understanding of current work and existing initiatives being undertaken in Kenya, identify key partners and appropriate modalities that might be used in facilitating change. The meeting commenced with a regional overview of the problem in Africa and framing the legal reform environment in Kenya, especially through the lenses of the new constitution. It further explored police enforcement of country by laws; justice for key populations and mental health laws in Kenya. Representatives of marginalized groups such as sex workers and street vendors had the opportunity to share their experiences. Ms. Irini Anastassiou from the PALU Secretariat made a presentation on “Strategies and opportunities for engaging the African Human Rights institutions and how work in Kenya might feed into the regional process”
The meeting resulted in mapping the current opportunities for engagement on this issue and developing an initial implementation plan and timeline in order to create a coherent narrative and broader momentum around the issues.
International Human Rights Day 2014
On 10 December, PALU seized the opportunity to commend the endless efforts of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and regional human rights bodies in upholding and protecting human rights in Africa. This year’s theme is “Human rights 365. Human rights 365” instills the notion that each individual regardless of the diverse backgrounds is entitled to the enjoyment of the full and equal range of human rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights every passing day.
PALU also celebrated its achievements in promoting and advancing human and peoples’ rights on the African Continent which can be read in detail here
PALU endorses to the fullest extent the request made by International Refugee rights Initiative (IRRI) on International Human Rights Day
to the Sudanese government to show respect for human rights by releasing Sudanese activists the Government has in detention. Dr Amin Mekki Medani, a Sudanese human rights lawyer, Farouk Abu Isa, the head of the National Consensus Forces, which is an umbrella group of Sudan’s main Opposition Parties, along with Farah Agar, a legal consultant for the Sudan People' Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
PALU continues continue to work towards promoting and advancing human and peoples’ rights on the African Continent by working with international organizations, African and International NGOs and all other stakeholders in the field of Human Rights Law in Africa.
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NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
EALS Appoints New Governing Council and Admits Ethiopian Lawyers
On 14 and 15 November 2014, the East Africa Law Society (EALS) held its 19th Annual Conference and General Meeting. During its AGM, EALS appointed a new Executive Council which consists of Council Members from the constituent law societies of the Regional Bar and Bar Leaders of the six National Bar Associations who sit on the Executive Council as ex-officio members.
PALU congratulates the new Governing Council and applauds the AGM for passing a Resolution to admit Ethiopian lawyers into EALS. Click here
for a full list of the incoming governing Council.
The African Court delivers decision on Advisory Opinion submitted on Access to the Court
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (The Committee) submitted an application for an advisory opinion. The Committee seized the African Court with a request for an advisory opinion under Art. 4(1) of the Court Protocol and Rule 68 of Rules of Court. The African Court was asked to decide whether under Art. 5 of the Court Protocol, the Committee is among the entities that can bring cases to the African Court
The African Court delivered its Judgement on 5 December at its public hearing held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African Court decided that although in the interest of protecting children’s rights, it is highly desirable that Committee is given direct access under Art 5 of the Court Protocol, the Court Protocol is clear. The meaning of who can access the court under Art. 5 is clear and unambiguous. The Committee is neither listed nor does it qualify as an intergovernmental organization under Art. 5(3)of the African Court Rules. This cannot be understood to include any other entity that is not included. The Judges unanimously decided that although the Committee can lodge advisory opinions it cannot file cases under Art5 (3) of Protocol.
At the time of print, the full Judgement was not yet available.
For more information on the application you can email the Registrar of the African Court, Dr. Robert Eno at: Registry@african-court.org
Obituary Message from C.I.B. and PALU
PALU joins the IPC and the Bar of Kinshasa/Gombe to pay tribute to the Honorary President of the CIB, the Chairman of the Bar of Cote d’Ivoire, Barrister Mamadou Kone, who died on December 9 following a long illness.
It is with profound grief that we are sending our deepest condolences to his family and relatives.
The Establishment and Inauguration of the International Criminal Justice Consortium (ICJC)
The inaugural ceremony of the recently established ICJC was held on 10 December 2014 to coincide with International Human Rights Day. The ICJC is an Independent nonpartisan alliance of international organizations committed to providing comprehensive, practical, and expert support to criminal judicial institutions at the national and international levels. The ICJC’s work is conducted pro bono, driven by the requests and needs of national and international criminal justice institutions (including the International Criminal Court). It provides capacity-building assistance through practical legal skills workshops, sharing of best practices and expertise, and other forms of collaboration.
The Consortium’s growing membership includes some of the most distinguished rule of law organizations in the world
, of which PALU is proud to be a member.
For more information visit the ICJC’s website here
ICC Renders a Decision on Non-Compliance by Libya
On 10 December 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
issued a finding of non-compliance by the Government of Libya with respect to the non-execution of two requests for cooperation transmitted by the ICC, and decided to refer the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations.
The Chamber found that Libya has failed to comply with the requests by the Court: (i) to surrender Saif Al‑Islam Gaddafi to the Court; and (ii) to return to the Defence of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi the originals of the documents that were seized by the Libyan authorities from the former Defence counsel for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi in June 2012 in Zintan, and to destroy any copies thereof.
The Chamber stressed that both outstanding obligations are of paramount importance for the exercise by the Court of its functions and powers under the Rome Statute and that the non‑compliance by Libya effectively prevents the Court from fulfilling its mandate, including its duty to protect the rights of the parties and the interests of victims.
The Chamber recognized that throughout the proceedings, Libya demonstrated in several respects its commitment to the Court and made genuine efforts to maintain a constructive dialogue. The Chamber also noted the volatile political and security situation in Libya and stated that it was sensitive to the serious difficulties that Libya is currently facing.
The Chamber emphasized that its decision was only based on the objective failure to obtain cooperation. It was not intended to sanction or criticize Libya but solely to seek the assistance of the Security Council to eliminate the impediments to cooperation.
Decision on the non-compliance by Libya with requests for cooperation by the Court and referring the matter to the United Nations Security Council
Further information on this case is available here
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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ADVERTISEMENTS AND VACANCIES
PALU Jobs/Opportunities Board
For more information on the current vacancies you can visit: http://lawyersofafrica.org/jobs-board
The following vacancies are open: