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September-October 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 Attends the NBA Annual General Conference

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held its 55th Annual General Conference from 21 to 28 August 2015 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Nigeria. The Conference was carried out under the theme “Lawyers and National Development”. The event offered a platform for various members of the legal profession to learn, exchange ideas and reflect upon challenges confronting, among others, administration of justice in Nigeria and beyond. In attendance were the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, Judges, State Governors, Senators, Federal and State Parliamentarians, Clergy, traditional rulers, lawyers and members of the public. PALU’s President, Barrister Elijah Banda SC participated in a panel during a show case session on “The Role of the Law in National Development” that was also empanelled by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, the former President of the NBA, Joseph Daudu SAN, the President of Ghana Bar Association, Nene Amegatcher and from Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Saudatu Mahdi.

To read a communiqué issued at the close of the NBA Annual General Conference visit http://www.nigerianbar.org.ng/.

PALU Holds its 2015 Annual Conference in Nigeria

PALU held its 2015 Annual Conference from 22 to 24 September 2015 at Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria. The highlight of the Conference was a symposium under the theme, “Combating corruption: The Role of the Legal Profession in Africa” The event brought together the crème of the legal profession in Africa. The participants graced the ceremonies for the opening of the Nigeria’s Legal Year; discussed the Code of Ethics on Anti-Corruption and Professional Compliance Standards; got an opportunity to share information and forge working relationships, to mention but a few activities of the event.

For more information on the event, click here and view photos here.

PALU sincerely expresses abundant gratitude to every Member, sponsor, service provider, stakeholder and colleague who contributed in making the 2015 Annual Conference a success.

PALU Participates in a Sub-Regional Workshop on Curbing IFFs from Africa

The first Sub-Regional Workshop on Curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa was held from 14 to 15 September 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Workshop was a joint effort of the African Union (AU), the Capacity Development Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). The workshop brought together stakeholders who, among other participants, were involved in previous regional consultations with the High Level Panel (HLP) on IFFs. The rationale behind the gathering was to promote continued engagement at all levels in the implementation of the HLP recommendations while also providing the opportunity to strengthen the alliance against IFFs. PALU delivered a presentation during the workshop on ‘Developing Legal Instruments to Stem IFFs from Africa’.

To read the concept note of the Workshop click here.

PALU Participates in IPSS’ 4th Briefing Session on Presidential Term Limits

On 17 September 2015, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) conducted its Fourth Briefing Session at the Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was held under the theme “Extending Presidential Term Limits in Africa-The Will of the People or Abusive Constitutionalism?” The Session was based on the recently common trend spotted on African countries with presidential term limits amending their constitutions to extend tenures of their Head of States or Government. This trend has come under the spotlight with an evident impediment to the development of democracy and rule of law in African countries. PALU joined a panel of speakers and delivered a presentation on their experience litigation before the East African Court of Justice against the decision of the President of Burundi’s bid for a third term.

To read the concept note of the briefing session click here and more information is available in IPSS’ press release that can be accessed here.

PALU Engages in Discussion during the AUABC 18th Session

The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption held its Eighteenth Session from 5 to 9 October 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania. The Members of the Board held their meeting on 5 and 6 October 2015; thereafter invited partners in a discussion to the Board’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan on 7 and 8 October 2015. A team of the partners included PALU, representative of the African Union Commission –Department of Political Affairs (AUC-DPA), Mr. Isaack Gabra Abdul, President of the Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Africa, Mr. Charles Ayamdoo and a delegate from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) headquarters, Mr. Constantine Palicarsky. The session was concluded by a press statement by the Chairperson of the Board, Hon. Daniel Batidam who called for free and fair polls during Tanzania and Ivory Coast elections.

To read the press statement click here.

4th Forum of the International Law and AU Law

A forum on international Law and African Union (AU) Law was established by the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL) to provide a platform for researchers, legal experts and practitioners of the continent in the light of International Law and African Union Law. The forum held its fourth meeting on 19 to 20 October 2015 in Cairo, Egypt under the theme “The Challenges of Ratification and Implementation of Treaties in Africa”. The main objectives of the fourth edition of the AUCIL Forum were mainly to discuss the dilemma of the contradiction between the keenness in ratifying the texts in the context of the African Union and the cumbersome implementation of these texts; to encourage AU Member States to ratify AU/OAU Treaties and Conventions and; analyze ways in which progressive development of international law on the continent must take place in order to provide urgent responses to these issues. PALU participated in the discussions of the forum and contributed, among others, with a presentation on “Widely ratified instruments (on peace and security, human rights protection, trade, free trade zone, economic integration)”.

To read the forum’s concept note click here.

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NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS

Falana Files a Case Before the African Court

Advocate Femi Falana, a Nigerian human rights lawyer and a life member of PALU filed an Application dated 10 August 2015 before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court). The Application followed a Communication he initially filed to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) regarding the systematic and widespread violations of human rights in Burundi. He seized the African Court on the basis of Rule 29(3)(c) of the Rules of Court which leaves it to the discretion of the African Court to hear, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the individual or Non-Governmental Organization that initiated a Communication to the African Commission pursuant to Article 55 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Raising issues of both procedural fairness and substantive justice, including fair, just and equitable remedies for violation of human rights of Burundians, Mr. Falana prayed that African Court requests the African Commission to refer the Communication against Burundi initiated before it on 4 May 2010 to the African Court. An addition prayer was that, the African Court hears his Application pursuant to aforementioned Rule 29 and also by virtue of the inherent jurisdiction of the Honorable African Court.

Jester Charewa Appointed to the Zimbabwe High Court Bench

On 16 September 2015 the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe administered the swearing in proceedings of six new judges to the High Court and three to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. Jester Charewa, a PALU Member, an outgoing Executive Secretary of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and a former Deputy Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, was among those sworn in to serve as a High Court Judge. PALU congratulates its esteemed member for this highly reputable position in the administration of justice and wishes her wisdom and efficiency in her tenure.

For more information click here.

The Bar Association of Bandundu inaugurates its Headquarters

The Bar Association of Bandundu held an inauguration ceremony of the Bar’s headquarters in September 2015. The headquarters of the bar are located in Bandundu town next to the Court of Appeal of Bandundu. PALU commends the efforts of Bar Association of Bandundu that has resulted to this remarkable achievement.


Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet Wins the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize

On 10 October 2015, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision to award the Tunisian National Dialogue Quarter for its decisive contribution in building a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. Founded by a Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded for outstanding contribution in peace. This year’s Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, an umbrella of key organizations in Tunisian civil society that represent different sectors and values in Tunisian society. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that this year's prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be an inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and the rest of the world. It also is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges, have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the Committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries. PALU extends hearty congratulations to its Tunisian Members, the Tunisian Order of Lawyers together with its fellow Members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for being conferred with the prestigious award as a result of playing such a phenomena role in the peaceful and democratic transition of their country.

To read PALU’s press release click here and for the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s announcement click here.

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NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

AUPSC Holds its Inaugural Annual Consultative Meeting with the AfCHPR

On 25 August 2015 the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) held its Inaugural Annual Consultative Meeting with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court). Both the AUPSC and the African Court acknowledged the important work of the latter and underscored the need to build more synergy between the two organs. The AUPSC stressed that close collaboration with the African Court will be very instrumental in further enhancing the capacity of the Council to more effectively discharge its mandate of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa. Both organs agreed to alternate the hosting of their future Annual Consultations between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Arusha, Tanzania at dates mutually agreed. The Second Annual Consultative Meeting is set to be held in Arusha, Tanzania in 2016 at a date to be mutually agreed.

To read the AUPSC press release click here.

Kaberuka’s Bids Farewell as His Presidential Term Runs Out

Mr. Donald Kaberuka was the seventh elected President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) since its establishment in 1963. He was first elected in May 2005 and was re-elected in May 201 for a second term that ended on 31 August 2015. During his service at the AfDB, Kaberuka presided over a major redirection in its strategy for development and poverty reduction in Africa. To that end, the AfDB has placed increased emphasis on the private sector and on the importance of major infrastructure developments in areas such as road, railways, power plants and communications, especially in their role in promoting regional integration in Africa. Various international and regional institutions from African and beyond, as well as State leaders who had an opportunity to bid farewell to the outgoing President of the AfDB, were, among others, were the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma together with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (UNECA), Dr. Carlos Lopes.

For more information view the following press releases:
The AUPRC and AUDPA Hold a Joint Retreat on AGA

The African Union Department of Political Affairs (AUDPA) convened a consultation with the African Union Permanent Representative Committee (AUPRC) on the operationalisation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) as well as the state reporting processes under the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The consultation was held from 2 to 4 September 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania with a purpose to review the status of the operationalisation of AGA and its Platform since its establishment in 2010. It was attended by Members of the Permanent Representative Committee, Elected and Technical Heads of the various AGA Platform Members including the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Pan African Parliament, the African Committee of Experts on Rights and Welfare of the Child, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Union Commission together with the staff of the African Governance Platform secretariat.

To read the press release by the African Court click here.

ICC Orders SA to File Submissions for Al-Bashir’s Non-arrest

The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), on 4 September 2014, issued an order requesting submissions from the Republic of South Africa for purposes of proceedings under Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute in the case of the Prosecutor v Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir. This tread, the Pre-Trial Chamber stated, was based on a belief that the events that surrounded the non-arrest of Al Bashir warrant the opening of proceedings pursuant to Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute. Therefore, it is necessary that, in accordance with Regulation 109(3) of the Regulations and prior to making its finding, the Chamber hear from South Africa.

For more details of the order click here to read the press release by the ICC.

AUPSC Approves the establishment of Hybrid Court South Sudan (HCSS)

On 26 September 2015, the African Union Heads of State of the Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) held their 547th meeting in New York, United States of America, to discuss the situation in South Sudan. The main objective of the meeting was to present the Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS). The Council took on board some of the Commission’s recommendations including the establishment by the African Union Commission of an independent hybrid court in accordance with Chapter V(3) of the Agreement reached by the South Sudanese parties as an African-led and Africa-owned legal mechanism. The Court will investigate and prosecute individuals bearing the responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese law committed from 15 December 2013 through the end of the transitional period.

To read the AUPSC’s Communiqué click here and to access PALU’s CEO Mr. Donald Deya talk on the HCSS click here.     

IHDRA Appoints a New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHDRA) has appointed the Institute’s Director of Programs, Gaye Sowe as the Executive Director. Gaye’s appointment was announced on 1 October 2015, as he takes over from the Interim Executive Director, Katherine Mulhern who returns to serve as a Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute. Gaye has significant litigation experience at both the national and African regional level and has worked with the IHRDA for ten years in a variety of roles. PALU congratulates Gaye on this appointment and wishes him the best in continuing to build upon the IHRDA’s strong track record of promotion and defence of human rights in the African regional system.

To read IHRDA’s press release, click here for English and here for French.
 
  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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