PALU’s Executive Committee Meets in Nairobi, Kenya
The meeting of PALU’s Executive Committee was held from 27 to 29 April 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Executive Committee, established under Article 9.1 of the Union’s Constitution, is composed of the President, five Vice Presidents from the five regions of Africa, the General Secretary, the Deputy General Secretary and the Treasurer. Members of the Executive Committee had an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues pertaining to the development of the legal profession on the continent. During the meeting, they also conducted a deep discussion on topical programmatic issues related to the activities of the Union. The meeting was wrapped up by Member’s meeting with the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya.
ISS Seminar on International Justice Responses in Africa
Donald Deya, PALU’s Chief Executive Officer, participated as a speaker in a Seminar under the theme “Africa’s courts must deliver justice for international crimes” organized by the Institute for Security Studies
(ISS) and held in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa on 9 June 2015. Funded by the governments of The Netherlands and Norway, the seminar was one of a series of events hosted by the ISS on the sidelines of the African Union’s 25th Summit which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The seminar was inspired by the notion that to end impunity for international crimes, Africa must strengthen national criminal justice systems and regional courts. Speakers discussed recent developments at national and regional levels that respond to international crimes, focusing on what must be done to ensure that the future African Court of Justice and Human Rights can curtail impunity. They also discussed ways in which African governments can tackle international crimes in their national courts in a holistic way.
Strengthening the body of African International Law supported by effective African intergovernmental organizations is one of PALU’s objectives enshrined under the Union’s 2014-2019 Strategic Plan. PALU is committed to supporting all efforts and activities aimed at ending impunity as well as at achieving reliable and efficient protection of human and peoples’ rights.
For further information on the seminar click here
PALU Facilitates Intervention of Burundi CSOs in the Burundi Situation
PALU facilitated two missions with representatives of Burundian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in a bid to evaluate and strategize ways forward following the political crisis in Burundi. The first mission took place from 11 to 14 May 2015 on the sidelines of the 13th Extraordinary Summit of East African Community (EAC) Heads of State on Burundi. The second mission was held from 29 May to 1 June 2015 on the sidelines of the 14th Extraordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State. The missions assembled representatives of Burundian CSOs including from Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture (ACAT-BURUNDI), Association des Femmes Rapatriées du Burundi, Coalition de la Société Civile pour le Monitoring des Elections (COSOME), Collectif des Associations et ONGs Féminines (CAFOB) and Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE) who issued various statements which were disseminated to the EAC Heads of State’s staff members and to diplomatic missions based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition to meeting with key stakeholders, CSOs’ representatives were interviewed by the media and gave a press conference on 31st May 2015, presenting the CSOs point of view on the Burundian President’s bid to run for the upcoming Presidential elections in what is seen as an unconstitutional third-term bid.
On 6 July 2015, PALU together with the East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum
(EACSOF) filed an Application at the East African Court of Justice
(EACJ) challenging the legality of the decision of the Burundian Constitutional Court which legitimatized President Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third term. The Respondents are the Attorney General of the Republic of Burundi; the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the EAC Secretary General. The Applicants presented prayers for the following orders:
- A Declaration that the decisions by the Constitutional Court of Burundi and the CENI violate the Arusha Agreement and the Constitution of Burundi;
- A Declaration that the decision of the Constitutional Court of Burundi violates the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community;
- An Order to quash the decision of the Constitutional Court of Burundi and the CENI’s decision which allowed Pierre Nkurunziza to run illegally for the third term.
PALU is closely observing the situation in Burundi and will continue engaging all relevant stakeholders in effort to reaching a lasting solution to the political crisis in Burundi.
Kindly click here
for the statements in EN and here
for the Press release about the EACJ case.
AfCHPR President’s Courtesy Visit to PALU Secretariat
PALU was honoured with a courtesy visit by the President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights
(AfCHPR), Honourable Justice Augustino S.L. Ramadhani on 20 May 2015 at its Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania. Hon. Ramadhani was invited as the Guest of Honour at a cocktail party organized by PALU to conclude a Pilot Training for East African Senior Media Editors and Journalists which took place from 19-22 May 2015 on the sideline of the Thirty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the AfCHPR at the seat of the Court. After the training, the journalists covered public hearings for two matters before the AfCHPR, Application 006/2013: Wilfred Onyango Nganyi & 9 others v. the United Republic of Tanzania
and Application 007/2014: Mohamed Abubakari v. the United Republic of Tanzania
. The AfCHPR had appointed PALU to provide pro bono legal representation for the Applicants in both matters. PALU supports continued media engagement and coverage of the AfCHPR’s activities and invites journalists to share their articles on the Court, the rule of law and the legal profession in Africa with the Secretariat electronically through firstname.lastname@example.org
to view a photo gallery of the cocktail party and click on features below to read the coverage by respective journalists:
Launch of “Stop the Bleeding” Campaign
PALU united with other reputable Pan African networks during the launch of an international campaign to stop Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa held at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Kenya on 25 June 2015. The campaign dubbed “Stop the Bleeding” was a joint effort of Tax Justice Network Africa
(TJN-A), Trust Africa
, Third World Network-Africa
, the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development
, the African Women's Development and Communication Network
(FEMNET) and the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation
(ITUC-Africa). The main goal of the campaign is to stop IFFs from Africa. Furthermore, it aims at raising public awareness on the detriments of IFFs as well as to strategize on means of plugging all holes in revenue generation to enable African nations reap enough revenue for development.
The elimination of IFFs from Africa is one of PALU's areas of strategic focus under its 2014-2019 Strategic Plan. It also dominated the theme of PALU’s 2014 Triennial General Assembly (TGA) and Conference titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Africa: Sealing the Leaks, Management and Repatriation of Frozen Assets”
that resulted in the adoption of the Yaoundé Declaration on Combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. PALU is committed to supporting all efforts and actions towards combating IFFs by providing leadership on the interface of IFFs, the law and possibilities of engaging in strategic litigation against multinational corporations illicitly transferring money out of Africa.
for PALU’s press release on the campaign’s launch
PALU participates in a Workshop on Governance and Democracy in the SADC Region
PALU participated in a stakeholders’ workshop on “Reflections and Prospects for Strengthening Democracy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region: A focus on the Legislative Framework for Enabling Free and Fair Elections”. The workshop, held on 27 and 28 May 2015, was jointly organized by the SADC Lawyers’ Association (SADC-LA) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). It provided stakeholders with a platform to discuss and evaluate, on the one hand, the electoral legal environments in SADC countries and on the other, international and regional election legal standards and human rights laws. Experts who took part in election observation missions throughout the SADC region over the last few years had the opportunity to share and recommend best practices from their hands-on experiences.
They compared electoral environments in the SADC countries and recommended various initiatives to develop sound legal and institutional frameworks for elections. They also referred to the role of SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in developing reliable frameworks for elections, democracy and good governance.
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NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS
Mr Gilberto Correia Launches his Book on The Right of Retention
PALU member, Mozambican lawyer and university lecturer, Mr Gilberto Correia recently released his second book titled “Retention of Law” in Beira, Sofala Province of Mozambique. Different actors of the national legal arena, among others, lawyers, judges and academics who participated in the launch of this book, considered it a major contribution in improving the Mozambican justice system. "Retention of law" is the second work of Mr Correia, after his last year’s release of the "Point of Order." During the launch of the book Mr Correia stated that the topic surrounding his newly released work is less explored in the Mozambican legal platform but crucial for national commercial law. Mr Correia is the President of the Southern Africa Development Community Lawyers Association (SADC-LA) and former Chairperson of the Bar Association of Mozambique. PALU applauds Mr Correia’s release of his new book.
for futher information.
Tunisian Court Begins Trial following a Lawyer’s Murder
On 30 June 2015, First Instance of the Assize Court of Tunis opened the trial of the first group of defendants accused of involvement in the murder of Tunisian Lawyer, Mr Chokri Belaid. Mr Belaid, a committed lawyer in the cause for the oppressed and freedoms, was murdered outside his home on 6 February 2012. The investigating judge of a case filed following the murder closed investigations but his decision was challenged before the Indictment Division. The Indictment Divisions identified various procedural errors and ordered a set of instructional supplements which were upheld by the Court of Cassation. Investigations were to be continued and the case was fixed for hearing on 30 June 2015 for presentation of the outcome of investigations. PALU unites with the lawyers in Tunisia to call for fair trial and just proceedings.
to read the National Order of Lawyers of Tunisia. (Available in French only)
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NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
African CSOs’ Recommendations to the AU on the Fight against Impunity
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and international organizations with a presence in Africa presented an open letter to the African Union
(AU) through Foreign Ministers and Justice Ministers concerning important progress by Africa in ensuring justice for gravest crimes and areas which need further support for accountability. The official letter dated 22 May 2015, coming briefly ahead of the 25th African Union Summit held from 7 to 15 June 2015 was signed by 35 organizations. It highlighted the fact that the fight against impunity is best served when African States are proactive in developing mechanisms that foster accountability while also promoting complementarity and cooperation with international mechanisms. In their estimation, the organizations pointed some notable developments that merit the AU’s introspection and action, among others the set trial of Hissene Habre, former President of Chad before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Senegal.
On the other hand, the signatory CSOs stated that the cause of justice continues to face challenges in Africa whereby international crimes continue to be committed with little or no accountability. They noted also the immunity clause that was included in the Protocol expanding the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights that perpetuates the culture of impunity which Africa struggles with. The CSOs referred also to the threats to push for African State Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to withdraw from the ICC. Lastly they presented their recommendations, including among others, that African governments should express support for the crucial ICC, reconsider and revise their stand on immunity in the aforementioned Protocol which undermines the AU’s commitment to fight impunity in Articles 4(h) and (0) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
to read the official letter of ACSOs and international organizations to the AU
COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Launch a Free Trade Area
The Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
(COMESA), East African Community
(EAC) and Southern African Development Community
(SADC) had a tripartite meeting on 10 June 2015 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The Tripartite Summit launched the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (Tripartite FTA), signed the Sharm El Sheikh Launching Declaration and opened for signature the Agreement establishing the Tripartite FTA. The Summit was attended by six Heads of State and Government, nineteen (19) Plenipotentiaries representing their Heads of State and Government, the three Executive Secretaries of the Regional Economic Communities and the Chairperson of the Tripartite Task Force. In addition, organizations that attended the Summit included, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme, the Global Rights Network for Development, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Trade and Development Bank of Eastern and Southern Africa.
Click the following for COMESA-EAC-SADC TFTA main instruments:
UN Approves the Commemoration of International Day against Sexual Violence in Conflict
On 19 June 2015 the United Nations General Assembly
approved, by consensus, a new resolution establishing 19 June as International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This International Day, to be observed annually, will aim at raising awareness on the need to end conflict-related sexual violence and urge the international community to stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence around the world. The date 19 June commemorates the breakthrough adoption of Security Council resolution 1820 in 2008, which recognized sexual violence as a tactic of war and a threat to global peace and security, requiring an operational security, justice and service response. The initiative is an effort to boost the global fight against the horrors faced by women and girls in zones of conflict worldwide following an uptick in reports from areas controlled by militant groups of brutal acts of sexual violence against women and girls.
PALU has been actively involved in the fight against sexual violence against women. We worked with the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK-FCO) in drafting International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict: Basic Standards of Best Practice. PALU remains committed to the fight against impunity especially, but not limited to, gender based violence during war time.
to read the press release from the UN News Centre.
Swazi lawyer and journalist released
On 1 July 2015, the Supreme Court of Swaziland ordered an immediate release of Mr Thulani Maseko and Mr Bheki Makhubu, a prominent human rights lawyer and a journalist, respectively. This comes one year and three months after Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu were detained following an arrest on 17 March 2014 over articles published in The Nation, an independent national news magazine, whose Editor is Mr. Maseko. Both, in July 2014, were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, on contempt of court charges linked to the articles, which expressed a critical opinion against Swaziland’s then Chief-of-Justice. In addition to the release of a public statement calling for their immediate release in March 2014, the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network
(PAHRDN) publicly addressed Mr Maseko’s case at the United States/ Africa Heads of State Summit held in August 2014, in Washington DC., United States of America.
Countless other human rights organizations from across the world condemned this detention and conviction as illustrated by a joint petition before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
(UNWGAD) from the International Commission of Jurists
(ICJ), Hogan Lovells US LLPS
and American Bar Association Center for Human Rights
. In its opinion, delivered on 10 June 2015, the UNWGAD affirmed that the Swaziland government’s detention of Maseko is unlawful and that his rights to freedom of expression, liberty, and to a fair trial had been violated. PALU unites with PAHRDN and its partners across the world who advocated tirelessly for this release, to welcome the Supreme Court of Swaziland’s order that signifies a positive step forward for judicial independence and rule of law in Swaziland.
For more information, view the following press release:
Current opportunities are:
- Call for Papers: Conference on the effective implementation of disability rights in Africa by Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. Deadline 15 September 2015
- 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
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