Death of PALU Secretary-General, Mr.Akintola Anthony Akinbote Esq,
The President and Members of the Executive Committee of the Pan African Lawyers Union regret to announce the demise of its Secretary-General.
Mr. Akinbote lost his battle against a kidney dysfunction on Tuesday 19th February 2013.
Although we were aware of the severity of his illness, his death has however come as a great shock to us.
Throughout his career, Mr. Akinbote, a dedicated Pan Africanist, was at the forefront of the fight for the independence of Bar Associations and the rights of advocates on the continent and beyond. He held numerous positions that testify his dedication and commitment and to the advancement of the legal profession.
He was, amongst other things, the Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, President of the OHADA Club - Nigeria, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Law and Democracy Initiative of Books for Africa and most recently, the Secretary-General of PALU.
Mr. Akinbote represented victims before domestic and international Courts and Tribunals, most notably before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, for the Nigerian civilian victims of the attack on the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) peacekeepers in Darfur.
Inspired by OHADA, he also strongly advocated for English-speaking countries of Africa "to have political resolve and espouse the ideals of uniformity" in African corporate law. He worked hard to strengthen PALU’s position on the continent and everything to do with his belief that the Unity of the African continent could be jump-started by the harmonization of legal systems.
A fervent Christian, loving husband and beloved father, Mr. Akinbote leaves a wife and four children behind.
PALU and many members of the legal community in Nigeria and continent-wide will greatly miss this legal luminary.
Mr. Akinbote’s funeral programme was held as follows:
Christian wake keeping:
Date: Wednesday, 6th March 2013
Venue: Baptist Academy, Ikorodu Road, Lagos Nigeria
Time: 5-7pm prompt
Date: Thursday, 7th March 2013
Venue: The Lagos High Court Foyer, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Nigeria
Time: 9am prompt
Date: Thursday, 7th March 2013
Venue: The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Olive Tree Parish, Main Arterial Road, Banana Island, Ikoyi Lagos Nigeria
Time: 12 noon
Interment followed immediately at the Vaults and Garden, behind FRCN Ikoyi, Lagos.
We pray that his soul finds a perfect resting place and that his family galvanizes their residual strength to continue life’s journey.
PALU Yearbook available for sale
We have some good news for all our subscribers. The much anticipated Pan-African Yearbook of Law is now available!
This initial edition of the Yearbook proposes articles by leading authors on a variety of topical issues of interest for legal practitioners on the continent.
The articles you will find herein are detailed as follows:
Unconstitutional Regime Change: Trend Perspectives and Political Requisites for Stricter Law Enforcement, by Dr. Costantinos BT Costantinos;
The Arab Uprising: Implications for Self-Determination and Good Governance in the African Union, by Diala Anthony Chima;
Constitutional Entrenchment as an Effective and Sustainable Basis for Attacking Africa’s Endemic Corruption, by Charles Manga Fombad;
The Predicament of African Regional Courts: Lessons from the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, by Phazha Jimmy Ngwandwe;
Drafting a Protocol to Extend the Jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice, by Dr. Alex Obote-Odora;
A Critical Analysis of Article 14(1) (E) Of The African Women’s Protocol: Duty To Disclose One’s HIV Status To A Sexual Partner, by Ngcimezile Nia Mweso.
You can purchase this leading publication for as low as USD 50 by visiting our office or by visiting our website at www.lawyersoafrica.org
PALU Secretariat participates in high-level Pan-African Conference on “Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC): 10 Years On"
The PALU Secretariat participated in a high-level Pan-African conference on the theme “Africa and the ICC: 10 Years On” which was held in Arusha from 28th February to 1st March 2013. The conference was organized by Africa Legal Aid (AfLA) to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the ICC and to raise awareness of the ICC and promote ratification of the Rome Statute by African States.
The Conference was officially opened by His Lordship Justice Mohamed Othman Chande, Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania. In his opening speech, he urged discussants to examine the strength of the governing principles of the Rome Statute and their application in the African context. It is undeniable that Africa’s economic growth has been accompanied by old and new social and political challenges that have been triggers for international crimes on the continent. Justice Chande noted the importance of domestication of the Rome Statute by African States and the establishment of effective judicial procedures and due processes within national jurisdictions. He went on to further emphasize the importance of public confidence in their respective national justice systems in order for African States to effectively prosecute these crimes. He also marked the significance of strengthening the relationship between the ICC and the African Union.
The ICC Chief Prosecutor Madam Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national, appreciated the support given by African States to the ICC from the early stages of drafting the Rome Statute, its signature and ratification. Madam Bensouda urged African lawyers to step up their advocacy efforts towards African governments in order to facilitate smooth and full cooperation with the ICC. She stated that African Lawyers must stand united to ensure that the rule of law can serve humanity and bring an end to impunity.
The conference had an interesting special session on a critical evaluation of the ICC’s work in its 10 years of existence and its relationship with Africa. It drew examples and lessons learnt from other International Tribunals, in particular the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Discussions also centered on experiences on complementarity, ratification and implementing the Rome Statute by national jurisdictions within and outside Africa. It also paid special attention to victims’ justice and gender issues. In the area of international justice within the African continent, the conference had a special session on the suspension of the SADC Tribunal and the ongoing request for an advisory opinion of the African Court, lodged by PALU and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in November 2012.
PALU CEO, Donald Deya, delivered a presentation on the Proposed Expansion of the Jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to include International Crimes.
for the powerpoint presentation.
For complete information on the Request of an Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the SADC Tribunal’s Suspension please visit:
(available only in English)
Ambassador Tiina Intelmann visits PALU Secretariat
Ambasador Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court, visiting the PALU Secretariat
As part of her mission in Arusha, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, paid a courtesy visit to the PALU Secretariat where she discussed the need for further support of the ICC by African States and organizations.
PALU would like to express its gratitude to Ambassador Tiina Intelmann for taking her time to visit us to discuss such an important issue.
PALU commemorates International Women’s day
On March 8th 2013, in commemoration of International Women’s Day PALU did a feature on the role of women lawyers in advancing justice. This featured three prominent African lawyers chosen from different regions in Africa. These were:
• Madam Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC);
• Dr. Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre in Tanzania;
• Madam Osai Ojigho, Deputy Executive Director of Alliances for Africa.
As an organisation that values the advocacy, promotion and respect for women’s rights, PALU would like to applaud those involved with women’s rights and encourages others to follow suit.
To read the interviews click on the link below:
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News from our members
PALU President appointed African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Sanctions Commissioner
PALU President, Barrister Akere T. Muna, has been appointed as a member of the AfDB’s Sanctions Office. This follows the approval by the Board of Directors of the AfDB to implement policies designed to strengthen the institution’s anti-corruption agenda as well as its procurement rules and procedures to bring them in line with practices in peer development finance institutions.
The Board, aware of the need to strengthen its integrity, anti-corruption function and sanctions process within the Bank Group approved the recommendations for the appointment of:
PALU President, Barrister AKERE T. MUNA as Sanctions Commissioner for a period of three years, renewable once;
Maître MAHMOUD BOUSBIA-SALAH as Alternate Sanctions Commissioner for a period of three years, renewable once;
Professor MARK PIETH as Chairperson of the Sanctions Appeals Board for a period of three years, renewable once;
Ms. SUSAN RINGLER as an External Substantive member of the Sanctions Appeals Board for a non-renewable period of two years; and
Judge EL HADJ MALICK SOW and Mr. ANDRES RIGO, respectively, as External Alternate Members of the Sanctions Appeals Board for periods of three years, renewable once.
These approvals empower the Bank to implement the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions signed by Development Finance Institutions on 9th April 2010. The agreement establishes a framework within which, entities or persons found to have engaged in wrongdoing in development projects financed by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) may be sanctioned for the same misconduct by other participating development Banks in circumstances where such entity or person is debarred by one IFI for a period exceeding a year.
PALU would like to extend its congratulations to its President Barrister Akere Muna for his appointment as Sanctions Commissioner and to the rest of the newly appointed officials.
For more information you can visit the AfDB official website on:
The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) holds Annual Conference and General Meeting, Elects New Council
TLS held its Annual Conference and General Meeting from 22nd-23rd February 2013 at the Institute of Rural Development and Planning in Dodoma on the theme “Cross Border Legal Practice: Prospects and Challenges.”
The keynote speech was delivered by Hon. Samuel Sitta Minister of East African Community Affairs who himself is a member of the Tanzanian Bar. He encouraged members of the Tanzanian Bar to embrace the opportunities and challenges presented under the Common Market Protocol including the free movement of services and labour.
At the General Meeting, the President of TLS Francis Stolla was re-elected to serve a third term while Vice-President Peter Kibatala was elected Vice President fora second term. The full composition of the new Council is presented below:
Francis K. Stolla – President
Peter Kibatala – Vice President
Edson Mkisi – Treasurer
ZephrineGaleba – Member
NatujwaMvungi – Member
Anthony Mavunde – Member
ErastoLugenge – Member
Peter Hellar – Member
Godwin Mussa – Member
PALU would like to congratulate the incoming Council.
African Court Coalition (ACC) holds Training Workshop on the Rules of Procedure of the African Court
In enhancing better understanding of the Court and its rules, the ACC organised a training workshop for lawyers on the Rules of Procedure of the African Court. The training took place on the 8th and 9th of March 2013 at the Kibo Palace Hotel Arusha, Tanzania.
For more information you can email:
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News from other organsations
ICC Charges against Francis Muthaura Dropped
The International Criminal Court (ICC) dropped charges Francis Muthaura on 11th February 2013. In 2012, the ICC judges found probable cause to pursue charges against Muthaura, Uhuru Kenyatta and two others for being "indirect co-perpetrators" in the 2007 violence following the disputed Kenyan presidential election. According to the ICC, as many as 1,220 people lost their lives and more than 350,000 people were displaced by the violence.
Madam Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, stated that one of the reasons behind this decision was the inability to gather important evidence from witnesses who were probably too scared to testify. Other reasons included the death of some witnesses, the admission of a key witness to the case, to lying and receiving bribes and the lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government to provide important evidence and facilitate access to witnesses. Madam Fatou Bensouda however stressed that this decision to have the charges against Francis Muthaura dropped had nothing to do with the political developments in Kenya.
In light of this decision, Uhuru Kenyatta, the newly elected President of Kenya has requested that the charges against him should equally be dropped on grounds of flawed evidence. At this point it is unclear as to what impact this decision to drop the charges against Muthaura will have on the other three defendants.
For more information on this, please visit:
For the statement of the ICC Prosecutor on the notice to withdraw charges against Muthaura, please click below:
Pan-African Parliament (PAP) organizes meeting on development agenda
The PAP organized a high-level African Thematic Consultation in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa from 26th-27thFebruary 2013.
Key topics discussed included the state of democratic governance as envisaged by the African Union, roles of various stakeholders including Parliamentarians, academia and civil society in the development agenda and financing sustainable development – post 2015.The consultation took place two years before the period set for the globe to have realised the UN backed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expires. Resulting from a series of UN Summits in the 1990s, the MDGs were identified as key in global co-operation for development.
The Pan African Lawyers Union was represented by its President, Barrister Akere T. Muna, who also serves as an Eminent Member of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Impeachment of Sri Lanka’s first female chief justice
The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke, was impeached by a vote of government members of the nation’s parliament on 10th January 2013 after a report from a Select Committee of seven government ministers declared her guilty of misconduct. This decision involved the rejection of a ruling by the Supreme Court that the process was in breach of the Constitution. The impeachment has been widely condemned both by a large majority of local lawyers as well asinternational organisations concerned with human rights and judicial independence. The Sri Lankan government, however, claims that the actions of its ministers and MPs have done nothing to threaten judicial independence but have merely demonstrated the sovereignty of Parliament.
for the full report by Geoffrey Robertson QC,on behalf of the British Bar on the impeachment of the Chief Justice Bandaranayaka, issued on 1st March 2013.
SADC Gender Protocol enters into force
The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development entered into force following ratification of the instrument by the requisite two-thirds of member states. According to a communiqué issued after the annual meeting of ministers responsible for gender and women affairs in the Southern African Development Community held in Mozambique earlier in February, ten member states have ratified the protocol.
These are Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting applauded member states' efforts in depositing instruments of ratification which has subsequently led to its entering into force. The objectives of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development are to provide for the empowerment of women, eliminate discrimination, and achieve gender equality and equity through gender-responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects.
PALU would like to congratulate the ten states that have ratified the Protocol and encourages more Southern African states to follow this example.
For a copy of the protocol please click here.
Rwanda deposits the Article 34(6) Declaration at the African Court
On 28th February 2013, the Republic of Rwanda deposited the Declaration required under Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court accepting the competence of the Court to receive cases directly from individuals and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with observer status before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Article 34(6) of the Protocol provides that ‘at the time of the ratification of this Protocol or any time thereafter, the State shall make a declaration accepting the competence of the Court to receive cases under Article 5(3) of this Protocol. The Court shall not receive any petition under Article 5(3) involving a State Party which has not made such a declaration’. The Declaration from the Republic of Rwanda was signed on 22nd January 2013, making it the sixth country to deposit the Declaration after Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Mali and the United Republic of Tanzania.
PALU would like to congratulate Rwanda on this development to increase access to the African Court and encourages the rest of the African nations to follow suit.
for a copy of the Declaration.
Click the following for a copy of the other 5 declarations : Burkina Faso
and the United Republic of Tanzania
Newly Elected African Court Judge Sworn-in
On Monday 4th March 2013, at the opening of the 28th Ordinary session of the African Court, the newly elected Judge Hon. Justice Aba Kimelabalou, a Togolese national was sworn in. He was elected during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union and appointed by the 20thAssembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union on 28th January 2013.
PALU would like to extend its congratulations to Hon. Justice Kimelabalou.
for access to the press release from the African Court.
African Court holds its 28th Ordinary Session
The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights held its 28thOrdinary Session at its Seat in Arusha, Tanzania from 4th to 15th March 2013.
On the agenda of the Session was:
a. Matters for hearing
Application 013/2011–Beneficiaries of the late Norbert Zongo, Abdoulaye Nikiema, Ernest Zongo, Blaise Ilboudo and Mouvement Burkinabé des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples(MBDHP) v. Republic of Burkina Faso
b. Matters for Judgment or Decision/Ruling
Application 003/2011-Urban Mkandawire v The Republic of Malawi-Draft Judgment ;
Application 009/2011 & 011/2011-Tanganyika Law Society and theLegal and Human Rights Centre & Reverend Christopher Mtikila v theUnited Republic of Tanzania-Draft Judgment ;
Application 014/2011-Atabong Denis Atemnkengvthe African Union-Draft Judgment ;
Review 001/2012-Delta International Investment South Africa, Mr A. G. L De Lange and Mrs De Lange-Draft Ruling.
c. Matters for case management
Application 004/2011 - African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ;
Application 001/2012-Karata Ernest and Others v The Attorney General ofthe United Republic of Tanzania ;
Application 003/2012-Peter Joseph Chacha vUnited Republic of Tanzania ;
Application 006/2012-African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v The Republic of Kenya .
For more information you can visit:
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Equality Now to hold training on use of Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol)
Equality Now, in partnership with the support of Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition will host a lawyers’ training on 25th to 26th March 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa to
promote the use of the Protocol. The training will target lawyers and law firms/associations from Southern Africa and specifically countries that have ratified the Protocol. The meeting will provide step by step guidance for using the Protocol at both national and regional levels. Lawyers will be trained on using the Protocol in cases brought before national courts, and bringing complaints of violations of the Protocol to regional mechanisms such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The training shall provide an analysis of certain violations of the Protocol to assist practitioners in drafting complaints on these issues. Lawyers will also be given information on key cases relevant to women’s rights decided by the African Commission and from other regional human rights systems and international treaty bodies in order to give
practitioners a sense of the current jurisprudence on women’s rights.
For more information you can contact Caroline Muthoni Muriithi on:
18th Commonwealth Law Conference (CLC2013)
The 18th Commonwealth Law Conference (CLC2013) will be held from 14th to 18thApril 2013 in South Africa.The four-day conference will be hosted by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA). This is the first time in its sixty-year history that this prestigious event is being held in Southern Africa. The conference presents an ideal opportunity for lawyers from the Commonwealth to share their ideas and experiences. It will include an interesting and informative business programme, as well as a trade exhibition showcasing products and services relating to the legal industry, enabling delegates to update themselves with all developments in the legal profession. There will also be an exciting social programme including the option of post-conference tours.
For details on how to register you can visit:
Seminar on International Criminal Law Defence
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) with the support of the Turin Bar Association and the International Association of Lawyers (Union Internationale des Avocats - UIA), will host a 4-day (22nd-25th April 2013) seminar on International Criminal Law Defence at the Foundation of the Turin Bar Association (Fondazione dell’AvvocaturaTorinese Fulvio Croce), in Turin, Italy.
The seminar represents a unique opportunity to acquire a deep understanding of defence in the area of international criminal law. It is geared towards those interested in the practice of international criminal law whether in national or international courts, in addition to those who work with organizations involved in this area. More specifically, it is addressed to attorneys, legal and judicial personnel, law enforcement and governmental officers.
Minimum entry requirements are a degree in law or equivalent qualifications, and a good command of both written and spoken English.
Please note the registration deadline is 1st Apr 2013. For details on how to apply you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please indicate “Defence Seminar” in the subject of the email).
Great Lakes Course 2013
The Rift Valley Institute will be organising its Fourth Great Lakes Course which will be held in Jinja, Uganda, from 22nd to 28th June 2013. It will cover Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the border zone with Uganda. The 2013 course examines the current crisis in the Kivus, the prospects of institutional reform in the DRC, regional resource issues, and political developments in Burundi and Rwanda.
The course will be in English and French with simultaneous translation.
For more information you can visit:
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