The Coalition for an effective African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court Coalition/the Coalition), The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) and Rencontre Africaine pour la Defénse des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO) are delighted to announce the First Colloquium of the African Court Coalition themed; ’’Building the Court we want: Reflecting on perspectives of the proposed African Court with criminal jurisdiction’’. The colloquium will be held on 12th March and will precede the 3rd General Assembly of the Coalition to be held on 13 March 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania in line with the 36th session of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court). Coalition members are warmly invited to participate in these two events.
Established on 23 May 2003 in Niamey (Niger), the African Court Coalition is a network comprised of NGOs, law societies, law firms, National Human Rights Institutions and individuals. Its vision is to ensure access to justice for all in Africa and to work toward an effective, independent African Court and accessible to all throughout the continent. To achieve this vision, the African Court Coalition has worked for eleven (12) years in building the capacity of lawyers and non-lawyers in civil society as well as national institutions on the Rules of Procedure of the African Court and that of the African Commission on Human and peoples’ Rights (African Commission). The African Court Coalition has also led advocacy campaigns for the ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court and for state parties to make the declaration required under Article 34(6) of the same Protocol. Finally, the African Court Coalition has made several lobbying campaigns in the elections of judges at the African Court and held Roundtables with experts as think tank and popularized the work of the African Court through its publications (newsletters, advocacy pamphlets, practice manual and advocacy booklets).
Furthermore, the Coalition has at its establishment the objective to advocate for both the African Court on Human and the Peoples’ Rights and the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. In this regard, in June 2014, the African Union (AU) adopted a Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol to the Statute of African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Malabo Protocol), which extended its jurisdiction to cover international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, piracy, human trafficking and unconstitutional change of government. The Malabo Protocol has raised hope as it potentially offers additional avenues for redress in the fight against impunity. The flipside of that Protocol is that the proposed criminal jurisdiction of the Court has raised concerns that call for reflection amongst stakeholders on their expectations regarding the capacity of the court to effectively fight impunity in the continent. Some of the provisions in the Malabo Protocol (e.g. article 46 A bis on immunities) are considered controversial and therefore deep introspection on how best the Protocol can be utilized when it comes into force is necessary.
The Colloquium aims to:
• Take stock of the African Court Coalition since its inception in order to move forward its vision, mission and objectives;
• Raise awareness on the coming Court and provide avenues to challenges rose for an effective Court with criminal jurisdiction;
• Offer a platform for networking and experience sharing to human rights stakeholders
In addition to the general theme, the Colloquium will address the following themes:
• The results and prospects of the African Court Coalition;
• Avenues to challenges for an effective Court with criminal jurisdiction;
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The General Assembly will be taking place the next day after the Colloquium. The agenda of the General Assembly is as follows;
• Activity and financial reports from the Chairperson
• Election of Coalition Executive Committee and Focal Points to serve for a three-year term
• Welcoming of the new Executive Committee and Focal Points and election of the new Chairperson and the Deputy chairperson
• Closing Dinner
Coalition members, special guests and strategic partners will be entitled to participate in the General Assembly but voting will be restricted to registered and paid up Coalition members.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Who may nominate?
All registered and paid up Coalition members shall be entitled to nominate another member organisation or themselves for election as an Executive Committee member or a Focal Point.
Each nomination must be supported by another registered Coalition organisation member.
The Secretariat will be receiving a list of nominations until end February 2015 (nomination forms attached herewith) which should be submitted through;
Who may stand for elections?
Only Coalition organisations that are not in arrears of their membership fees may stand for elections.
Members may stand for the following positions:
The Executive Committee: a nine-member body comprising organisations responsible for policy and oversight of the Secretariat;
The Executive Committee shall be representative of the five regions of Africa. At least two member organisations must be located in Tanzania.
Focal Points: there are 7 focal points of which five are geographic; North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and East Africa AND two are thematic; Lusophone countries and National Human Rights Institutions.
A member organisation cannot be nominated in the same time for a position on the Executive Committee and Focal Point.
All paid up Coalition members (organizations and individuals) who will be present at the General Assembly will have the right to vote in the elections by secret ballot: one vote per member organization/Individual.
REGISTRATION FOR PARTICIPATION
Participants to the Colloquium and/or General Assembly will be required to pay a registration fee of 300$. This fee will only cover airport pick up and drop off, coffee/tea and lunch during the Colloquium and General Assembly and closing dinner after the General Assembly.
The registration fees SHALL NOT INCLUDE ACCOMODATION, TRAVELL EXPENSES OR ANY OTHER EXPENSES apart from those indicated above.
Organizers will cover participation cost of the Guests including founding Members of the Coalition, Executive Committee members and Focal Point representatives.