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 January Newsletter

*Une version française vous sera envoyée sous peu. | *A French version shall follow shortly.*

The Headlines

The following are the news stories featured in this issue:

Secretariat News - the Postponement of the PALU TGA and Conference; Opening of the Tunis Legal Year; 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union. 

News From Our Members- Benin Bar Association elects new council; Gambia Bar Association elects new Bar President and Executive.

News From Other Organizations- Survey questionnaire on Freedom of Movement in Africa; African Court Coalition (ACC) recruits new Executive Secretary; Winnie Byaniyima appointed Oxfam Executive Director; ICC Prosecutor opens investigation into war crimes in Mali, African Court Coalition (ACC) launches Bring Two campaign.

Upcoming Events- 2013 Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Annual General Meeting (AGM); Nairobi 2013 Core Professional Training on Humanitarian Law and Policy; The International Human Rights Network (IHRN) to hold training Program on Monitoring and Evaluation; 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR)

1.0 Secretariat News

Postponement of PALU TGA and Conference

We regret to inform you that in view of the present situation in Tunisia, the Executive Committee of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) has taken the decision, in consultation with the Tunisian Presidency and the leadership of the Tunisian Bar, to postpone the Conference and General Triennial Assembly, and reschedule to another date within four to six weeks.

We continue to monitor the situation and to consult with our counterparts. We will promptly inform you as soon as the date is fixed. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to you. We are very grateful for the interest you have shown and trust and hope that you will understand our present predicament, as the person who was assassinated, Chokri Belaid, was member of the Tunisian Bar Association. Through the Tunisian Bar Association we have expressed our sympathies and solidarity with his widow (who is also a member of our profession), the Tunisian Bar, and the people of Tunisia.

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Opening of Tunis Legal Year 
 
A PALU delegation, led by the President, participated in the Ceremonies for the Opening of the Legal Year in Tunis, Tunisia on 11th January 2013. They also participated in a Regional Conference on the Role of Lawyers in Democratic Transitions on 12th January 2013. In addition to dozens of Tunisian lawyers, several Bar leaders from Africa and the Middle East also participated in the two events. The meetings revisited and analyzed the very proactive and catalytic role that the Tunisian Bar had played, and continues to play, during the revolution that took place in their country. This was contrasted with some other African countries where the Bar Association/ Law Society eschews all controversies, including where there are challenges to democracy, or prospects for democratic transitions.
 
Participants reiterated that lawyers and lawyers’ associations must be active in the key political, economic and social issues affecting their countries, regions and the continent. Further that PALU and the regional lawyers’ associations must provide a platform whereby sister Bar Associations and Law Societies can hold each other to account, on the contributions that they make to the legal profession and to their respective countries, regions and the continent.
 
The PALU delegation also took the opportunity to discuss with the Tunisian Bar leadership and the African Development Bank practical and logistical arrangements for its upcoming Triennial General Assembly and Conference on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.

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20th Ordinary session of the African Union
 
PALU took part in the 20th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU Summit) which took place from 27th to 28th January 2013. Elections were held for various AU organs and institutions with a rule of law or human rights mandate. 
 
The following elections took place:
 
  1. The African Court on Human & Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), to fill a vacancy occasioned by the recent demise of Hon. Justice Joseph Mulenga of Uganda;
  2. The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC), whose eleven Commissioners' terms had all come to an end;
  3. The African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL), to fill some vacancies of Commissioners whose terms had come to an end. 
 
The results of the elections were as follows:
 
1. The African Court on Human & Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR):
 
Mr. Kimelabalou Aba (Togo) as Judge of AfCHPR for a year and a half. 
 
2. The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC):
 
The following Members were elected into the Advisory Board on Corruption for a two (2)-year term:

 No.  Name  Country
 1.  Mr. Jacques III ACHIAOU  Cote d'Ivoire
 2.  Mr. Tony AIDOO  Ghana
 3.  Ms.Akossiwa AYENA  Togo
 4.  Ms. Angèle BARUMPOZAKO  Burundi
 5.  Mr. Salem BEN-GHARBIA  Libya
 6.  Mr. M'Pèrè DIARRA  Mali
 7.  Mr. Jean-Baptiste ELIAS  Benin
 8.  Mr. Edward Gamaya Hoseah  Tanzania (re-elected);
 Chairperson of the Board
 9.  Mr. Ali Sulaiman MOHAMED  Ethiopia
 10.  Mr. Pierre NZOBABELA  Congo
 11.  Mrs, Julie ONUM-NWARIAKU  Nigeria

3. The African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL):

There were five (5) vacancies, three (3) serving members were re-elected, and two (2) new members were elected.
 
Re-elected:
1.       Mr. Daniel Makiesse Mwanawanzambi (DRC)  
2.       Mr. Rafâa Ben ACHOUR (Tunisia)   
3.       Mr. Kholisani SOLO (Botswana) 
 
New members (elected for the first time):
1.       Mr. Boniface Obinna Okere (Nigeria)
2.       Mrs. Naceesay Salla-Wadda  (Gambia)
 
The six (6) serving AUCIL Members that did NOT need re-election:
1.       Mr. Adelardus KILANGI  (Tanzania) – Chairperson              
2.       Mr. Kamel FILALI  (Algeria) – Deputy Chairperson
3.       Mr. Blaise TCHIKAYA (Congo)
4.       Mr. Ebenezer APPREKU (Ghana)
5.       Mr. Minelik Alemu GETAHUN (Ethiopia)
6.       Mr. Cheikh Tidiane THIAM (Senegal)
 
PALU would like to extend its congratulations to the newly elected and those re-elected. We will continue to work with these organs and institutions for development, good governance and human rights promotion and protection.

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2.0 News from Our Members


Benin Bar Association elects new Council

The Benin Bar Association elected a new President and Council, those elected were:
 
The President:
  •  Cyrille Y. Djikui
Council Members:
  • Angelo A. Hounkpatin
  • Romain K. Dossou
  • Antoine M. Claret Bedie
  • Elie N. Vlavonou-Kponou
  • Montand Aȉikpon
  • Yvon Detchenou
  • Donatien K. Gbadessi
  • Claude Tekounti
  • Renée A.D. Ayi
  • Guy-Lambert Yekpe
  • Mohamed A. Toko
  • Joseph Djogbenou
  • Bastien R. Salami
  • Sandrine C. Aholou
 
PALU would like to extend its congratulations to the President and Council.

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Gambia Bar Association elects New Bar President and Executive
 
The Gambia Bar Association held its Annual General Meeting on January 16th 2013. They held elections of a new Executive body.
 
The new Executive body of the Gambia Bar Association for the term January 2013 to December 2015 is comprised of the following:
 
Ms. Loubna Farage as President
Mr. Salieu Taal as Vice- President
Mr. Abdoulie Sisohor as Treasurer
Mr Abdul Aziz Bensouda as Secretary
Mr. Ebrima Jah as Assistant Secretary
Ms. Sagarr Jahateh as Social Secretary
Ms. Yassin Senghore as member
Mr. Musa Batchilly as member
Mr. Sheriff Tambedou as member
 
PALU would like to extend its congratulations to the new President and Executive body.

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3.0 News from Other Organizations
 
Survey Questionnaire on Freedom of Movement in Africa
 
The Centre for Citizens Participation in the African Union (CCP-AU) is currently conducting a continental study on Freedom of Movement in Africa. The outcomes of the study will inform continental advocacy initiatives targeting the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) so that they can accelerate the Free Movement of Africans in Africa.
 
In order to include peoples' real experiences in the research report, CCP-AU requests that you participate in the survey. PALU supports this initiative and urges all members to participate since we will also be extracting information from it for work relating to the movement of lawyers for business across the continent.
 
Please click here to access a short questionnaire which should take you approximately 5-10 minutes to answer. Please take a moment to share your experiences of traveling within Africa.
 
Kindly send your responses to eyob.balcha@ccpau.org

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African Court Coalition (ACC) recruits new Executive Secretary
 
The ACC has recruited a new Executive Secretary, Mr. Diue-Dionne Wedi Djamba, a national of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
PALU would like to congratulate Mr. Djamba on his new appointment.
 
PALU would also like to sincerely thank the outgoing Coordinator Ms. Nobuntu Mbele for the significant contribution she has made to ACC, to PALU and to human rights work in Africa over the years.

For more information please view www.africancourtcoalition.org/

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Winnie Byanyima appointed Oxfam Executive Director
 
Ms. Byanyima was appointed as Executive Director of Oxfam International, the global humanitarian relief organisation. She is a grass-roots activist, human rights advocate, senior international public servant, and world recognized expert on women’s rights. Ms. Byanyima will lead Oxfam International, which offers strategic guidance, support, expertise and coordination across Oxfam. Oxfam provides humanitarian relief in crisis, empowers poor and marginalized people to gain social and economic equality, and campaigns for a more just world. PALU and CCP-AU partner with Oxfam in Pan African advocacy and we value this partnership.
 
PALU would like to express its congratulations to Ms. Byanyima.
 
For more information you can visit:
http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-01-15/winnie-byanyima-appointed-lead-oxfam-international

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ICC Prosecutor opens investigation into war crimes in Mali
 
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has formally opened an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. This decision is the result of the preliminary examination of the Situation in Mali that the Office of the Prosecutor (the Office) has been conducting since July 2012.
 
“Since the beginning of the armed conflict in January 2012, the people of Northern Mali have been living in profound turmoil” said Prosecutor Bensouda. “At each stage during the conflict, different armed groups have caused havoc and human suffering through a range of alleged acts of extreme violence. I have determined that some of these deeds of brutality and destruction may constitute war crimes as defined by the Rome Statute”.
 
Following the referral of the situation in Mali by the Malian State, the Office may investigate and prosecute any crime within the ICC jurisdiction committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. In the course of the preliminary examination, the Office has identified potential cases of sufficient gravity to warrant further action.
 
Prosecutor Bensouda has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe the following crimes were committed: (i) murder; (ii) mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (iii) intentionally directing attacks against protected objects; (iv) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court; (v) pillaging, and (vi) rape. 
 
“My Office will ensure a thorough and impartial investigation and will bring justice to Malian victims by investigating who are responsible for these alleged crimes”. Based on the information gathered to date, the investigation will focus on crimes committed in the three northern regions of Mali.
 
“There is still turmoil in North Mali and populations there continue to be at risk of yet more violence and suffering” said Prosecutor Bensouda. “Justice can play its part in supporting the joint efforts of the ECOWAS, the AU and the entire international community to stop the violence and restore peace to the region. Key regional and international organizations have acknowledged the need for justice as part of the resolution of the crisis in Mali. The international crimes committed in Mali have deeply shocked the conscience of humanity.”
 
For more information you can click on the links below:
 
Link to the Article 53.1 Report on the Situation in Mali
 
Questions and Answers: Opening of an ICC investigation in Mali
 
YouTube (for viewing):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skCM6DuO8Dc
 
Video (MPEG-4) for download:
http://www.fileserver.icc-cpi.info/video/130116_OTP_Statement_Mali_English.mp4
 
Audio (MPEG-3) for download:
http://www.fileserver.icc-cpi.info/audio/130116_OTP_Statement_Mali_English.mp3

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African Court Coalition (ACC) launches Bring Two campaign
 
The ACC has launched the “Bring Two” campaign, which isa a a five-year campaign aiming to increase the membership of the ACC. Through the Campaign, members are encouraged to recruit at least two new members every year to join the Coalition. The Campaign will raise awareness of the African Court, raising funds for the Coalition and increasing the visibility of the Coalition.
 
For more information on how to become a member you can email the ACC at: executivesecretary@africancourtcoalition.org.

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4.0 Upcoming Events

 2013 Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Annual General Meeting (AGM)
 
The TLS will be holding its AGM on 22nd and 23rd February 2013 at the Dodoma Institute of Rural Development and Planning Hall.
 
For questions or clarifications please contact Ms. Mariam Othman, Program Officer - Member Services, on mariam_othman@tls.or.tz.

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Nairobi 2013 Core Professional Training on Humanitarian Law and Policy
 
The training will be conducted over three full days (22nd-24th April 2013) in Nairobi, Kenya. The training provides unique opportunities for acquisition and refinement of the skills necessary to address contemporary humanitarian challenges. Lectures, case studies, and simulation exercises are integrated into a curriculum narrative informed by legal principles, recent scholarship, contemporary challenges, and current debates. The trainings are tailored to professionals interested in gaining foundational knowledge, developing a strategic perspective, and engaging in exploratory discussions regarding potential responses to emerging legal and policy questions.
 
For more details on registration you can visit http://phap.org/civicrm/event/info?id=138.

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The International Human Rights Network (IHRN) to hold training program on Monitoring and Evaluation
 
 IHRN will be holding a training titled ‘Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E): Applying Human Rights Based Approaches’ from 15th-19th July 2013. The training will be held at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, Ireland.
 
The objective of this programme is to enhance the substantive knowledge and practical skills for applying Human Rights Based Approaches to M & E.The programme is aimed at individuals from a range of disciplines, with experience in monitoring or evaluating programmes/institutions in developing and industrialised countries; officials with public and regulatory bodies; donor personnel responsible for commissioning and managing evaluations; CSOs; Inter Governmental Organisations and Non Governmental Organisations project managers, professional evaluators, etc. The programme is aimed at participants with prior experience in M&E, with a limited number of places allocated to those at entry level.
 
Further information and application details can be found at the following link: http://www.ihrnetwork.org/monitoring-evaluation_238.htm

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7thAsia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR)
 
On the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in collaboration with government policy makers, program implementers, and development partners will gather at the Philippine International Convention Centre from 21st-24th January 2014 for the 7thAsia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. This conference will provide an opportunity for participants to examine the region’s performance, current good practices for diverse population segments (adolescents and youth, women of reproductive age, men, and the elderly), the roles and accountability of different stakeholders, as well as lessons learnt on issues and challenges in realizing the ICPD Program of Action and in attaining the SRHR-related MDGs. This gathering will also generate new paradigms, innovative ideas and strategies that would address emerging SRHR issues and challenges beyond 2015.

For more information on how to register you can visit:
http://www.7apcrshrmanila.org

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5.0 Become A Member

 
PALU is the umbrella association of African lawyers and law societies. It brings together the continent’s five regional and fifty-four national lawyers associations, as well as individual lawyer-members. Our mission is to work towards the development of the law and legal profession, the rule of law, human rights and socio-economic development of the African continent, including through supporting African regional integration.

By being a member of the Pan African Lawyers Union, you enjoy the following benefits:
 
Stay Updated and Informed
  • Subscription to our monthly Electronic Newsletter (e-newsletter) and periodic Electronic Bulletins (e-bulletins) on topical legal news, information and issues.
  • Premier access to our print publications (journals, law reports, magazines, policy briefs, etc), for free or at a subsidized members’ rate.
  • Access to cutting edge commentaries and legal analyses (that will not be available to non-members).
  • Premier access to our online resource centre (that will not be available to non-members).
Join Africa’s Largest Legal Community
  • Invitation to our various conferences, workshops, seminars and other networking events.
  • Premier continental networking platform and unprecedented access to a broad network of distinguished African legal dignitaries, decision-makers, professionals and scholars.
  • A detailed listing in our online directory of members which can enable you to make connections and meet professionals from similar areas of law practice or those relevant to your areas of interest as well as from the same region.
  • Participation in our Affinity Programme, whereby we will collectively bargain for benefits for members.
  • Discussion forums which can enable you to contribute to discussions on different topics or even start a new one with fellow professionals.
  • Social Media: Interact with members online and see our activities and get instant updates on what is going on etc
Sign up today at : www.lawyersofafrica.org/register

For more information you may email us at joinus@lawyersofafrica.org 

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6.0 Advertise With Us
 
Do you have news you would like to share with African lawyers as well as African lawyers in the Diaspora? Do you have an upcoming event you would like maximize event exposure? Do you have advocacy programs you would like to share with the rest of the continent?

PALU is proud to provide its partners, members and all other stakeholders with a variety of marketing, advertising and media exposure opportunities in our newsletter and e-bulletins. Take advantage of this wide outreach with a database of over 5000 lawyers through advertising in our newsletters.
 
For further information, please contact Ms Evelyn Chijarira on:
 
E: secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org
 
T: +255 272 2503192/4
F: +255 272 2502195

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