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January 2014 Newsletter
*Une version française vous sera envoyée sous peu. | *A French version shall follow shortly
NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

ICTR Workshop on Prosecuting Sexual Violence

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) organized an international workshop on the prosecution of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) crimes on 30 and 31 January 2014 in Entebbe, Uganda.. As the International Criminal Tribunal comes to a close, they prepared a manual entitled Best Practices Manual for the Investigation and Prosecution of sexual Crimes in Post-Conflict Regions. The goal of the workshop was to develop on previous work done by the ICTR with the goal of developing a regional training programme that will assist in future prevention and prosecution of SGBV crimes.

The effective prosecution of SGBV crimes is a goal PALU actively advocates for. Given the fact that many SGBV crimes either during or after a conflict remain unreported or not effectively addressed, PALU had been advocating for effective means of redress both at national and regional levels. PALU has worked and continues to work tirelessly for increased knowledge of and access to the African Court. It recently started advocating not only for domestication of International conventions that address SGBV during conflict but also effective implementation of the nationalised laws. PALU hopes for a future where Africa can move beyond impunity being a norm to intolerance of SGBV being the norm.

PALU has also recently partnered with the British Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) as well as the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) Gender Unit in this fight. PALU shall continue to advocate for the prosecution of perpetrators of SGBV crimes in its fight against impunity. PALU further applauds the ICTR for the wonderful work and developments they have made in this area of law.

To read the concept note click here.

EALS asks the EAC to protect Lawyers

The East Africa Law Society (EALS), through its President Mr. James Mwamu, has expressed concerns over the intimidation and harassment of legal practitioners across East Africa. EALS’s President wrote to the Secretary General of Secretariat of the East Africa Community (EAC), Dr. Richard Sezibera, over increased attacks on lawyers.

In his letter, he expressed his apprehension over the continued hinderance of the work of the EAC to increase democratic governance and accountability. Considering the fact that the region is gearing towards up for its next electoral cycle, Mr. Mwamu expressed concerns over EAC Partner States that appear to be more uncompromising when it comes to accommodating lawyers and human rights activists. Such times have in the past seen legal practitioners taking the brunt following their advocacy work urging governments to operate within the confines of constitutionality, inclusiveness and transparency.

PALU as an advocator of good governance, accountability and democracy and constitutionality, applauds EAC for all their efforts. PALU further encourages African governments to be more accommodating of legal practitioners and not subject them to brutality.

LAZ demands the Resignation of the Justice Minister

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has called for the resignation of Justice Minister Hon. Wynter Kabimba after a Tribunal was established to investigate him over abuse of office. Hon. Kabimba, also holds the office of General Secretary of President Michael Sata’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party.

Zambia’s Supreme Court recently concluded that Hon. Kabimba had used legal advice from the solicitor general’s office to influence the court to nullify the seats of opposition lawmakers so by-elections could be declared in favour of the ruling PF party.  

A lawmaker and some civil society groups then petitioned the Supreme Court to form a Tribunal to investigate the Justice Minister after accusing him of abuse of office and breaching his oath of secrecy, in which he declared to serve the interests of all Zambians irrespective of party affiliation.

Hon. Kabimba welcomed the formation of the Tribunal and promised full cooperation.  Mr. Banda, the President of LAZ, praised Hon. Kabimba’s decision to cooperate with the Tribunal, but advised that he resigns ahead of the inquiry.

PALU applauds the CSOs for taking a stand against undesirable elements such as abuse of office, negligence and criminal negligence to name a few. Taking a stand should be continent-wide practice with governments facilitating citizens, CSOs and lawyers’ associations’ initiatives whether big or small to hold their elected leaders to account.

For more information you can visit their website here.

The verbatim Court proceedings are below:
  • 21 January 2014 click here
  • 22 January click here
  • 23 January click here
ACC Advocacy Mission in the margins of the 22nd AU Summit

The African Court Coalition (ACC) held an advocacy mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 16 to 25 January 2014 prior to and during the 22ndAfrican Union (AU) Summit.  
The main objective of the Mission was to impress on African Union members states on the importance of ratification 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 Protocol) and making the Declaration under Article 34 (6) to allow direct access to the African Court for individuals and CSOs. They emphasized on the importance of ratifying the Protocol in terms of access to justice.

To get a copy of the report you may contact Sophia Ebby at: legalofficer_1@africancourtcoalition.org .

Currently only 7 African states have made the Declaration allowing direct access to the African Court for individuals and CSOs. PALU applauds the ACC on the important work they are doing on improving access to Justice to the African Court through encouraging more African countries to make the Declaration 34 (6). PALU further applauds the 7 countries that have made the Declaration so far, namely Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda and Tanzania.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Defending Human Dignity and Human Rights: A Challenge for International Cooperation

PALU will participate in a conference organised by the Justice and Peace Commission in The Hague, from 5 to 8 February 2014. PALU will take part as a panelist in a discussion on the theme: The Legal Discourse on exploitation of Resources: Violation of Human Rights by International Business Associations.

The Conference will aim to identify the main institutions that are providing or could provide support for human rights defenders, especially when it comes to economic, social and cultural rights. Since in some countries human rights activists are denounced as acting on behalf of foreign interests, the Conference will aim to shed light on the different settings where human rights defenders work in.

Click here for background information and the progamme of the conference.

Proposed Abolition of (DRC) National Bar Association

A meeting of lawyers in the Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC) will be held in Kinshasa on 28 March 2014 on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Bar Association and the 9thConference of Bar Presidents. The theme of the meeting will be ‘The Position of Members of the Congolese Bars on the Question of the Abolition of the National Bar Association and Its Members’.

The meeting will aim to bring together members of the Bar to discuss the proposed abolition of the National Bar and consequently the National Council of the Bar and the function of National Bâtonnier.

It will give an opportunity to lawyers to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a National Bar Association and its bodies. It will further discuss how the proposed dissolution of the Bar would threaten the independence of the bar as a regulatory body of the legal profession.

PALU calls upon legal practitioners to attend the meeting and share their opinions on the proposed abolition of the National Bar. As a membership organisation that deals with both individual practitioners as well as national bar associations, PALU remains committed to promoting independence of Bar Associations and the restate their importance on the democratic process.

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ADVERTISEMENTS AND VACANCIES

Vacancies at CODESRIA

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) invites applications for the vacancies of Deputy Executive Secretary and Editorial Assistant.

Click here for more information on the Deputy Executive Secretary post.
Click here for more information on the Editorial Assistant post.

Please note that the deadline for Applications is 31 March 2014.

Vacancy: Secretary General of the African Union Commission (AUC)

The AUC is calling for applications to fill the position of Secretary General. The position is located in the Office of the Chairperson of the Commission. The Secretary General reports to the Chairperson of the Commission or the designee through the Chief of Staff

Click here for the full call for applications in English.
Click here for the full call for applications in French.

Please note that the deadline for Applications is 3 March 2014.

For more vacancy announcements, please visit our Jobs Board at http://lawyersofafrica.org/jobs-board

Intellectual Property Rights Initiative (IPRI-Africa)

IPRI-Africa has introduced affordable online training that can be undertaken any time of the year. They are offering courses in Negotiations, Drafting and Management of Contracts and Intellectual Property Training.

IPRI-Africa is flexible in terms of designing courses according to your dates, place of training or duration. You can visit www.ipriafrica.com for more information.

Alternatively you can contact:
Online courses and info: ipriadmissions@gmail.com
Other seminars and info: ipriafrica@gmail.com

International AIDS Conference 2014

The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. The 20th International AIDS Conference will be held 20-25 July 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

Scholarship applications are being accepted for individuals from around the globe to participate in the Conference.

For more details on how to apply you may visit their website here.

Please note that the deadline for applications is 13 February 2014.

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