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April 2013 Newsletter

The Headlines

The following are the news stories featured in this issue:

Secretariat News
News from other Organizations
Upcoming Events
Secretariat News

Featured News: PALU to Hold Recruitment Conference on Recent Developments in International Law in Africa

PALU will hold a half-day Seminar on 3rdMay2013at Kibo Palace Hotel in Arusha. The Seminar will be on the theme “Recent Developments in International Law in Africa.” Discussions will centre on the recent law-making and implementation efforts of the African Union (AU) and its Regional Economic Communities (RECs). PALU will, among other things, reflect on recent jurisprudence from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR).

The Pan African Yearbook of Law (PAYL) will also be officially launched. This is the first publication in this series with a range of informative Articles.

We will also undertake our inaugural Membership Recruitment Activity for Arusha. We aim to reach out to all African and diaspora lawyers residing in Arusha who are either practising law, teaching or working in the several international organizations based here. We will thus use the event to showcase PALU and what it does, and also to foster and build strong ties and relationships with Arusha based lawyers and organisations.

We hope to interest prospective members and stakeholders to join in the mission, vision, objectives and activities of PALU.

For more information you can email us on secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org

PALU Yearbook Available for Sale!

We have good news for all our subscribers. The much anticipated Pan African Yearbook of Law is now available!

This initial edition of the Yearbook proposes articles by leading authors on a variety of topical issues of interest for legal practitioners on the continent.

The articles you will find herein are detailed as follows:
  1. Unconstitutional Regime Change: Trend Perspectives and Political Requisites for Stricter Law Enforcement, by Costantinos Berhuétesfa (BT) Costantinos;
  2. The Arab Uprising: Implications for Self-Determination and Good Governance in the African Union, by Diala Anthony Chima;
  3. Constitutional Entrenchment as an Effective and Sustainable Basis for Attacking Africa’s Endemic Corruption, by Charles Manga Fombad;
  4. The Predicament of African Regional Courts: Lessons from the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, by Phazha Jimmy Ngandwe;
  5. Drafting a Protocol to Extend the Jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice, by Dr. Alex Obote-Odora;
  6. A Critical Analysis of Article 14(1) (E) Of the African Women’s Protocol: Duty To Disclose One’s HIV Status To A Sexual Partner, by Ngcimezile Nia Mweso.
For details on purchase and delivery options please visit our website on www.lawyersoafrica.org or contact Ms. Abiha Kasmani at akasmani@lawyersofafrica.org.

Persecution of Judge who Ordered Beatrice Mtetwa’s Release

The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), SADC Lawyers Association (SADC LA) and Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) are concerned that the on-going intimidation of Zimbabwe High Court Judge, Hon. Charles Hungwe, the judge who ordered Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa’s release points to an escalating rule of law crisis in Zimbabwe.

After Ms. Mtetwa’s arrest and detention on 17thMarch 2013, the duty Judge at the time, Hon. Hungwe was urgently petitioned by Ms. Mtetwa’s lawyers to order her release. However, that order was ignored by police and justice administration officials for more than a week. Ms. Mtetwa was eventually released after being granted bail on 25thMarch 2013 Hon. Judge Joseph Musakwa, Judge at the High Court of Harare.

It appears that the State is now conducting a campaign of vilification of Hon. Hungwe through State-owned media and aligned outlets. A series of attacks on Hon. Hungwe’s integrity and professionalism have been published.

Hon. Hungwe is understood to have provoked the state’s ire additionally by authorising search warrants applied for by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission against several government ministers accused of corruption.

PALU, SADC LA and SALC are of the view that the attacks on Hon. Hungwe merit grave concern, pointing not only to an unwarranted attack on the integrity and professionalism of an individual judge, seemingly intended to intimidate him against ruling against the executive arm of government, but also demonstrating a larger attack on the Judiciary as a whole. The independence and integrity of the Judiciary is threatened when individual Judges are subjected to unwarranted attacks by state-aligned entities in forums that permit them no defence.

These attacks are especially alarming when viewed in the context of the recently endorsed draft constitution. The constitution makes separation of powers its keystone and robustly guarantees the independence of the courts. The recent attacks on Hon. Hungwe are intended to produce cowed, complacent courts, not only explicitly violate these protections but make a mockery of the entire constitutional project.  

PALU, SADC LA and SALC call on the Zimbabwean State to desist in their attacks on Hon. Hungwe as they disrespect the independence of the judiciary system as whole.

For more information contact:

Don Deya, PALU Chief Executive Officer: secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org; +255 27 254 3192
Nicole Fritz, SALC Executive Director: NicoleF@salc.org.za ; +27 82 600 1028
SADC LA Vice President Gilberto Correia: Bastonario@oam.moz.org; +258825019740.

Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) Global Board Discussion

PALU took part in a lunch discussion session for OSIEA global board members. The session was on constitutionalism in Eastern Africa with a focus on the constitution-making processes of Tanzania and South Sudan.

For more details on the session you can email Karen N. Mwaniki-Wanyoike at kmwaniki-wanyoike@osiea.org

23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa 2013

PALU President, Barrister Akere Muna will take part in the 2013 WEF on Africa as a panelist of the “Governance Best Practices” session. The WEF will be held from 8th-10th May 2013 in Capetown, South Africa.
 
The WEF will provide an important platform for regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to deepen the continent’s integration agenda and renew commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development by addressing the following themes:
  • Accelerating Economic Diversification
  • Boosting Strategic Infrastructure
  • Unlocking Africa’s Talent
For more information you can contact Jennie Oldham (jennie.oldham@weforum.org; +41 (0)22 869 3507) and/or Silvia Magnoni (silvia.magnoni@weforum.org; +41 (0)22 869 1310).

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News from Other Organizations

The Republic of Rwanda (Rwanda) Waives the Requirement to Obtain Visas before Entry for African Nationals

As of 1st January 2013, African nationals of countries that required a visa while traveling or transiting in Rwanda can now acquire a visa upon arrival at any of the entry ports.

PALU would like to applaud Rwanda for this positive move.

Please click here for an order issued by the Embassy of Rwanda in Ethiopia on 25th February 2013.

African Court Session   

On 15th March 2013, the African Court delivered a Judgment in respect of Application No. 014/2011; Atabong Denis Atemnkeng v. the African Union. The case concerned the validity of Article 34 (6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The case was however struck out due to lack of jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the matter as Cameroon has not yet ratified nor deposited the declaration under Article 34(6) allowing direct access to the Court for individuals and NGOs with observer status before the African Commission.

On the same day, the Court issued two Orders of provisional measures in respect of Application No 006/2012: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. The Republic of Kenya and Application No. 002 /2013: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. Libya, respectively.

For detailed information on these cases you can visit the African court website on:
http://www.african-court.org/en/images/documents/Press_Docs/Press_Release_for__ATABONG_and_KENYA.pdf

To access the orders for provisional measures you can visit:
http://www.african-court.org/en/images/documents/Orders-Files/ORDER__of_Provisional_Measures_African_Union_v_Kenya.pdf

http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/news/latest-news/356-the-african-court-delivers-one-judgment-and-issues-2-orders-for-provisional-measures

http://www.african-court.org/en/images/documents/Orders-Files/ORDER_Application_0022013_African_Commission_v_Libya.pdf

53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The African Commission held its 53rd Ordinary session from 9th-22ndApril 2013 at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul, the Gambia.

For more information you can visit:
http://www.achpr.org/sessions/53rd/

African Court Coalition Holds Banjul Side Event


On 11th April 2013 the Coalition for an Effective African Court (ACC) organised a side event during the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission). The event was on the theme; ‘Reflecting on the Current Developments at the African Court for Better Access to Justice on the Continent’.

For more information you can contact Sophia Ebby at legalofficer_1@africancourtcoalition.org.

African Commission Finds Zimbabwe Responsible for Torture of Human Rights Lawyer

The African Commission found the Zimbabwean Government responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Gabriel Shumba, a well-known human rights advocate and lawyer from Zimbabwe. This was the first time in its 26-year history that this important human rights body in Africa has held Zimbabwe responsible for torture.

“This important ruling adds to Africa’s struggle against impunity, and the case is representative of thousands who have suffered torture and various indignities at the hands of a repressive regime in Zimbabwe,” said Gabriel Shumba.

The Commission also made it clear that remedies in Zimbabwe ‘are inadequate, ineffective and unavailable’ and ordered Zimbabwe to pay Mr. Shumba adequate compensation for the torture and trauma caused to him. Zimbabwe has 90 days to implement the decision.

For further information you can contact:

Gabriel Shumba, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum via telephone on +27846649798 or by email at gabmrech@gmail.com
Eva Sanchis, REDRESS Communications Officer via telephone on +44 (0) 20 7793 1777 or by email at eva@redress.org

Alternatively you can visit the links below for articles by Pambazuka, OSISA and Redress:

http://www.osisa.org/hrdb/zimbabwe/achpr-finds-zimbabwe-guilty-torture
http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/86765
http://www.redress.org/downloads/GabrielShumbaPressRelease220313.pdf

US Supreme Court Decision Limits Applicability of Alien Torts Statute

On 17th April 2013, the United States Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in the case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell) ruled that Esther Kiobel had no jurisdiction to proceed in her case. Esther Kiobel brought the case on behalf of her late husband, Dr. Barinem Kiobel and 10 other Nigerians, claiming that Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Co. along with one of its subsidiaries aided and abetted the Nigerian military dictatorship’s use of murder and torture against opponents of oil exploration in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta between 1992 and 1995.

Kiobel brought the case under the US Alien Torts Statute, which had previously been used by victims to challenge human rights violations in US Courts irrespective of where the violations occurred. The finding of the Court that the Statute does not apply to human rights violations committed outside the US will limit the scope of protection for victims before US Courts.

A copy of the decision may be obtained here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/10-1491_8n59.pdf

Family and Employment Law Practitioners Needed for World Bank's Women, Business & Law Project

The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law has been invited by the World Bank Group's Women, Business, and the Law Project (WBL) to contribute by aiding in completing surveys for the 2014 edition of the WBL report. This project acknowledges the importance of a wide range of factors for women’s economic opportunities. WBL’s work entails surveying national laws, regulations and institutions that may affect women's incentives and capacity to start businesses and get jobs.

The Employment Law Survey will cover two of the six topic areas related to labor and employment law:
  • Getting a job: Assesses restrictions on women’s work such as prohibitions on working at night or in certain industries. It also covers laws on maternity and paternity benefits and on retirement ages;
  • Dealing with taxes: Examines personal income tax liabilities, taking into account tax credits and deductions available to women relative to men.
The Family Law Survey will cover three of the six topic areas related to family law:
  • Accessing institutions: Explores women’s legal ability to interact with public authorities and the private sector in the same ways as men;
  • Using property: Analyzes women’s ability to access and use property based on their capacity to own, manage, control and inherit it;
  • Going to Court: Considers the ease and affordability of accessing justice.
       Only participants with experience from the following countries will be 
                                              considered           
Botswana Jamaica Nepal Tanzania
Chad Lao PDR Nicaragua Togo
Congo Rep. Lesotho Namibia Tunisia
DRC Malaysia Oman United Arab Emirates
Fiji Mauritania Papua New Guinea Zambia

Interested participants must have proven experience in the topic areas above. To express your interest to conduct the survey(s), email Ms. Jacqueline Gichanga at Jacqueline.Gichinga@americanbar.org. In the body of the email include the following:
  • A short bio (no longer than a paragraph);
  • Indicate which survey you would like to complete;
  • A few sentences regarding your background in either Family or Employment Law or to the WBL project in general.
Journal of Public Policy in Africa Call for Papers

OSISA and Africa University are in the process of sourcing articles for a peer reviewed Journal on Public Policy in Africa (JOPPA). The journal is meant to respond to some of the issues that are often quoted in African policy-making.

Please click here for a copy of call for papers.

Those interested in contributing to the Journal should email Roshnee Narrandes at RoshneeN@osisa.org or Sam Mtetwa at mtetwam@africau.edu.

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Upcoming Events

Second Session of the Civil Society Forum on Sudan and South Sudan (The Forum)

The Forum is a joint NGO activity co-sponsored by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, the Darfur Bar Association, the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa and the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy. It will be organised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 16th-18th May 2013 as a pre-Summit NGO contribution to the 21st Ordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

The key objectives of the Forum are:
  1. To strengthen collaboration between Sudan-focused civil society groups and the AU and its specialized organs such as the DPA, AUPSC, ECOSOCC, CIDO, ACHPR, PAP etc. as well as the IGAD Secretariat;
  2. To map-out the obstacles to full enjoyment of human rights, including women’s rights in Sudan and South Sudan, and share such findings with relevant AU organs ;
  3. To harmonise advocacy activities among Sudan-focused civil society and present their collective vision on the on-going situation to concerned partners at the continental and the global levels.
For more information you can contact Sandra C. Oyella at sandra@darfurcentre.ch.

Upcoming Sessions of the Summit of the African Union (The Summit)

The Sessions will take place from 19th-27th May 2013 under the theme “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance”. It will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, which was established on 25th May 1963.
    
The Summit will be held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as follows:

19th and 20thMay 2013: 26th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee
22nd and 23rdMay 2013: 23rd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union
26th and 27thMay 2013: 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

For more information please visit the AU website at:
http://www.au.int/

Registration Now Open for SADC Lawyers Association (SADCLA) 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference


SADCLA will hold its 14thAGM and Conference on 2nd and 3rd August at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi. The meeting will be co-hosted by the Malawi Law Society on the theme "Constitution-Making and Constitutionalism in the SADC Region-Opportunity or Illusion for Justice, Peace and Shared Values”.

For more information you can email Ms. Emilia Siwingwa at emilia@sadcla.org.   

Click here to be redirected to the registration form.

University of Witwatersrand (Wits) to Hold Training Workshop on Sub-Regional Courts

The University of Wits will be organising a training workshop on the theme: “Sub-regional Courts in Africa: Comparing Mandates, Priorities and Objectives”. The workshop will be held at the Mandela Institute of the University of Wits Law School in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa on 5th and 6th August 2013.
The goal of the workshop is to convene key stakeholders from government, civil society, legal practice, and academia to compare and contrast the different mandates, priorities and evolution of four African sub-regional courts namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the South African Development Community (SADC).  

For more information you can email Ms. Nazreen Sacoor at Nazreen.Sacoor@wits.ac.za.

The American Bar Association (ABA) to Hold its 136th Annual Meeting

AMA will hold its 136th meeting in San Francisco from 8th-13thAugust 2013.For more information and to register click on the link below:

https://www.xpressreg.net/register/abaa083/dg/start.asp.

Please note the registration deadline is 20th July 2013.

Should you have any questions or comments you can contact Ted Carroll on +1-202-662-1675 or at
ted.carroll@americanbar.org.

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) Transitional Justice Fellowship Programme

IJR is pleased to announce the convening of a three week intensive Transitional Justice in Africa Fellowship Programme. This is a residential programme which will be held in Johannesburg and Cape Town from 20th July to 8th August 2013. This year’s Fellowship Programme will be open to applicants from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Please click here for the call for applications.

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