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May 2015 Newsletter
 

The Headlines

The following are the news stories featured in this issue:
 
Secretariat News
News from Our Members News from Other Organizations Upcoming Events Advertisements and Vacancies
SECRETARIAT NEWS

PALU Joins in a Discussion on the Role of CSOs in the Implementation of the HLP Report on IFFs

PALU participated in a two-day roundtable meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 and 22 May 2015 Organized by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJN-A) and East Africa Tax & Governance Network (EATGN). The first objective of the roundtable was to discuss strategies on concrete steps that can be taken by different actors to ensure the domestication and implementation of the High Level Panel (HLP) Report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) at the national level. The second objective was to discuss the role of CSOs in the global fight against tax evasion. The meeting brought together about 40 delegates drawn largely from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from the East African region. Selected policy makers and specialists were also invited to contribute their expertise and experience to enrich the discussions. At the end of the meeting, the CSOs in attendance agreed on strategies they could use to bring policy reform on IFFs and tax evasion at the national level.

PALU Participates in the AU-ABC’s 17th Ordinary Session

The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC) held its 17th Ordinary Session from 4 to 8 May 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania. Mr Donald Deya, the Chief Executive Officer of PALU attended the inaugural session which was held on 4 May during which eleven Members of the Board were sworn-in. It was at the same ceremony that the election of the AU-ABC Bureau composed of the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Rapporteur was conducted. The session discussed a number of issues touching on the work of the Board vis-à-vis the problem of corruption in Africa generally and in particular the perceived high level of corruption in the continent and the need for effective measures for preventing and combating it.

The offer by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to build a new headquarters for the Board was noted and welcomed. The Board called upon African States which have not ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to ratify the same. It also encouraged other State Parties to the Convention and regional organizations to establish national or regional anti-corruption training institutions to provide capacity building in the fight against corruption. The session also commended the establishment of anti-corruption academies in Africa such as the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), Keffi, and the Commonwealth African Anti-Corruption Centre in Gaborone, Botswana. PALU unites with the AU-ABC in congratulating the incoming Board Members on their election and in commending the outgoing Members of the Board for their service to facilitate the implementation of the Convention

Further details of the Session can be accessed by clicking here where the Communique of the AU-ABC is attached.

PALU’s Litigation before the AfCHPR


On 21 and 22 May 2015 the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) conducted two public hearings for Application No. 006 of 2013: Wilfred Onyango Nganyi and nine others vs. The Republic of Tanzania and Application No. 007/2013: Mohamed Abubakari vs. The United Republic of Tanzania, respectively.

Application No. 006 of 2013: Wilfred Onyango Nganyi and nine others vs. The Republic of Tanzania was filed by citizens of Kenya who allege to have been arrested when they were lawfully in Mozambique probing business opportunities, they were rendered into Dar es Salaam, Tanzania by an opaque process involving three governments. They were not afforded any extradition proceedings known in law, subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and eventually charged for a range of serious criminal offences whose trials have been unduly and inordinately delayed. Applicants prayed for a declaration that the Respondent State violated their rights to a fair trial and orders that the pending trials against them be, among other things, concluded within a reasonable time.

Application No. 007/2013: Mohamed Abubakari vs. The United Republic of Tanzania concerns a Tanzanian who was convicted of armed robbery, on contradictory evidence of a single witness through a Prosecutor who is believed to have had a conflict of interest in the case. The Applicant’s prayers were, among others, for a declaration that the Respondent State violated his right to a fair trial and orders that the Courts of the Respondent State re-examine the Applicant’s trial and conviction with the presence of legal aid and representation to the application during the process.

The hearings took place at the seat of the African Court, Dodoma Road, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Conservation Centre, Arusha, Tanzania and were open to the public. The Applicants of both Applications were represented by PALU, the Lead Counsel being Advocate Donald Deya, PALU’s Chief Executive officer. Pursuant to the Rules of Court, the judgments of each Application ought to be delivered within 90 days after the deliberations.

Click here to read Court’s summaries of the Applications and for Applicant’s oral submissions click here for Application No. 006 of 2013 and here for Application No. 007 of 2013.
 
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NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS

LSB Statement on Arrest and detention of Attorney Joao Salbany

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB), PALU’s institutional member, learnt with shock of the arrest of Attorney Joao Salbany of the Law firm Bayford and Associates on the morning of 7 May 2015. Mr Salbany was arrested and detained for several hours at a Botswana Police Station on a charge of obstructing the officers in their investigations following his attempt to engage with officers of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (The Directorate) who attempted to effect an arrest of a Journalist as well as to take possession of certain property including Information Technology (IT) equipment. After his arrest he was denied access to his legal representatives. He has since been released. The arrest runs afoul of enshrined Constitutional rights of the Gazette Newspaper and the Journalists’ right to legal representation and to adequately prepare a defence and similarly an affront to the attorney’s Constitutional rights to protect the rights of his clients. PALU unites with the LSB in keenly observing this matter and in this regard will, if necessary engage to protect the interests of its Members and indeed those of the legal profession as a whole.

Click here to read the LSB’s statement

LAZ AGM Resolutions

PALU’s institutional member, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), which represents a legal profession membership body of more than 800 legal practitioners in Zambia, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 April 2015. The AGM reached various resolutions and among others, that LAZ’s Council be mandated to approach the Government of Zambia for an annual grant that is to be channelled to Legal Aid Clinic for Women.
 
Click here to read the AGM Resolutions (available only in English).

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NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

EACJ Delivers Judgments against Burundi

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) delivered two judgments against the Government of Burundi on 15 May 2015. The first was EACJ Reference No. 7 of 2013: Burundian Journalists Union (BJU) vs. Attorney General of Burundi which concerns Law No.1/11 of the 4 June, 2013, amending Law No.1/025 of 27 November, 2003 regulating the press in Burundi (“the Press Law”). The Applicant contended that, the Press Law that was enacted restricts freedom of the press which is a cornerstone of the principles of democracy, rule of law, accountability, transparency, and good governance. Further, that the Press Law violates the right to freedom of expression and all the restrictions contained in it are in contravention of the Republic of Burundi’s obligations under Articles 6(d), 7(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (The Treaty). The EACJ held, among other things that “the restrictions not to disseminate information on the stability of the currency, offensive articles or reports regarding public or private persons, information that may harm the credit of the State and national economy, diplomacy, scientific research and reports of Commissions of Inquiry by the State” in Article 19 of the Press Law are in violation of the principles enshrined in Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the Treaty.

The second judgment was for EACJ Reference No. 1 of 2014: East African Law Society (EALS) vs. Attorney General of Burundi and the Secretary General of the East African Community. The Application was in relation to Mr Isidore Rufyikiri, who brought complaints of, among other things, the order prohibiting him from travelling outside Burundi and others following illegitimate procedures that caused his disbarment from the Roll of Advocates when acting under the capacities of the President of the Burundi Bar Association and also the President of the Burundi Centre for Arbitration and Conciliation (CEBAC). The EACJ among other things found that the prescribed legal process in instituting the disbarment case of Mr. Rufyikiri constitutes a violation of due process and this violation, imputable to the 1st Respondent, offends the rule of law principle enshrined in Articles 6(d) and 7(2) of the Treaty.

For EACJ judgments click here for Reference No 1 of 2014 and here for Reference No 7 of 2013.

AUPSC 507th Meeting Adopts a Decision on the Situation in Burundi

Held on 14 May 2015, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) 507th Meeting expressed the Council’s deepest concern about the evolution of the situation in Burundi including the armed clashes that took place in Bujumbura which resulted to the loss of human life. It also reiterated the strong condemnation by the African Union of all acts of violence, including the clashes in Bujumbura between factions of the army, attacks against the civilian populations and other abuses, as well as the destruction of public infrastructure and other property. The Council requested the African Union Commission to take all necessary steps to enhance the African Union Office in Bujumbura and to expedite its consultations with the Burundi towards the early deployment of human and other civilian personnel, to monitor the human rights situation on the ground, report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and undertake local conflict prevention and resolution activities. The Council requested Burundi and all other concerned parties to facilitate the deployment and guarantee the security of these civilian personnel.

Click here to read the AUPSC Communique and here to read the Communique of the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the East African Community.

AU Commends the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Mali

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed the signing, in Bamako, on 15 May 2015 of the "Agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali from the Algiers Process." She commended President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his Government, the movements of the Platform of Algiers and components for the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) that signed the Agreement. The current Chairman of the AU, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and a high-level delegation of the Commission took part in the signing ceremony.The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the full support of the AU to the Agreement, which constitutes a balanced document taking into account the different aspects of the recurrent crises in northern Mali and the legitimate concerns of the parties, in accordance with unity and territorial integrity of Mali, and the republican form and the secular nature of the state. The Chairperson of the Commission urges the international community to give its full support to the implementation of the Agreement and reiterates the appreciation of the AU and the Government of Algeria’s President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to the sustained efforts of the conclusion of the Agreement.

Click here to read the Agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali from the Algiers Process.

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UPCOMING EVENTS
  1. 20 July 2015: Session of the Assize Court of Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) judging Hissene Habre at 9 am at Lat Courthouse DIOR Dakar.  
     
ADVERTISEMENTS AND VACANCIES

The following vacancies are open:
  1. Legal Officer of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Deadline 12 June 2015
  2. Program Officer of the Open Society Foundation (OSF). Deadline 10 June 2015
  3. Advocacy Director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Africa Division. Applications open until filled.
  4. Legal Officer, P2 of International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Deadline 20 July 2015.
Current opportunities are:
  1. Call for applications: Master’s degree (LLM/MPhil) in human rights and democratization in Africa at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights. Deadline 31 July 2015
For more information on the current vacancies from our members and networks you can visit our PALU Jobs/Opportunities Board at http://lawyersofafrica.org/jobs-board
 
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