Centre News & Events: 2016
Press Release: International and local NGOs file joint papers for admission as friends of the court in Al Bashir Case

8 February 2016 - Today in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the Peace and Justice Initiative and the Centre for Human Rights (“PJI/CHR”), represented by the Legal Resources Centre (“LRC”), filed joint heads of argument in an application to be admitted as amici curiae (friends of the court) in the matter between the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Southern African Litigation Centre (“Al Bashir Case”).

The Al Bashir case will be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday, 12 February 2016. The LRC, on behalf of PJI/CHR, have been granted 30 minutes to address the SCA at the hearing. PJI/CHR seek to rely on their collective domestic and international law experience to assist the SCA in reaching its decision.

The South African Government is appealing an order of the Gauteng Provisional Division, Pretoria, handed down on the 14 June 2015 –– and a subsequent judgment confirming the order –– which directed the South African Government to arrest the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, who was visiting South Africa as part of the Sudanese delegation at the African Union Summit held in Sandton. Two warrants have been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for President Al Bashir’s arrest.



President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir
Call for Registrations: 8th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

4 February 2016 - The 8th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition will be held from 18 to 20 July 2016, at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and will bring together up to 75 participants from up to 25 universities representing all 5 United Nations regions of the world (Africa; Asia and the Middle East; Eastern Europe; South America and the Caribbean; Western Europe and other regions).

The annual competition is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa in collaboration with the Office of The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva and selected partners.

Invitations are sent to all universities in the world. The Competition, which is held in English, is now open to undergraduate and master’s degree law students. Participating universities select two students: preferably one man and one woman. The students submit written heads of argument for a hypothetical case, which are assessed by a panel of experts. The best 5 teams from each region are then invited to travel to Geneva to participate in the pre-final rounds of the Competition. Here, teams have to argue the two sides of the hypothetical case, the Applicant and the Respondent, before a ‘bench’ of human rights experts.

The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been presented every year for the last seven years, and has become a leading human rights educational event. It is unique in bringing together some of the youngest and brightest law students from universities all around the globe to debate burning contemporary human rights issues on the basis of a common UN human rights system, influenced by national and regional perspectives and experiences.



Centre alumna establishes new academic record

3 February 2016 - The Centre for Human Rights is proud to introduce Dr Romola Adeola, its youngest doctoral graduate.

At just 26 years of age, Romola has set a record in being the youngest person to obtain a Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) in the 30-year history of the Centre for Human Rights. Furthermore, she is only the second youngest person to achieve this in the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria since its establishment 107 years ago. She distinguished herself by completing the LLD in under 3 years.

This record is in keeping with a pattern of excellence which Romola has maintained since her undergraduate years at Lagos State University (LASU) where she was awarded the Taslim Olawale Elias Prize for the Best Student in International Law.

Romola's relationship with the Centre for Human Rights began from her participation in the 2008 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition. In 2012, she was selected as a DAAD [1] scholar to study for the LLM/MPhil degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. She graduated cum laude, earning two awards: the Kéba M’Baye award for the overall Best Dissertation and the Victor Dankwa prize for the Best Performance in the module: Human Rights in Africa.



Dr Romola Adeola with Prof Frans Viljoen,
Director of the Centre for Human Rights
Press Release: Centre raises concern about extra-judicial killings in Mozambique

28 January 2016 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has with great dismay taken note of the reported attempt on the life of Manuel Bissopo, Secretary General of the Mozambican National Resistance party (Renamo), the official opposition in Mozambique. It is reported that Bissopo was shot, and his bodyguard killed, in Beira, on the same day that he denounced the Mozambican Security Services for having abducted and extra-judicially killed members of Renamo.

This incident is greatly concerning, as it forms part of a series of similar shootings of outspoken opponents of the government. On 3 March last year, the esteemed Mozambican academic Prof Gilles Cistac was assassinated by unknown gunmen on the streets of Maputo. Acting as advisor to Renamo, Prof Cistac spoke out in favour of federalism and decentralisation, arguing that such options are compatible with the country’s constitution. Prof Cistac was a staff member of the Faculty of Law of Eduardo Mondlane University, with whom the Centre collaborates in presenting its Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa.



Post-Doctoral Fellow publishes article on the conflict in Casamance

25 January 2016 - Dr Cristiano d'Orsi, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights recently published an article on the conflict in Casamance in the Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution.

Details are the following:
Cristiano d'Orsi, "An outlook on the conflict in Casamance with a focus on the legal situation of the Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques (“Mouvement of Democratic Forces of Casamance”) and its members".

(Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution, volume 23.1, pp. 1-59.)



Centre for Human Rights partners in request for advisory opinion to African Human Rights Court

18 January 2016 - The Centre for Human Rights together with the Women's Legal Centre (South Africa) and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (Nigeria) and joined by the Federation of Women Lawyers, Kenya, the Institute for Strategic Litigation in Africa (South Africa), Legal Advocacy for Women in Africa (Ghana) Alumnae Incorporated, the Malawian and Zimbabwean chapters of Women and Law in Southern Africa, the Women's Legal Aid Centre in Tanzania and Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association recently submitted a request to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Court) for an advisory opinion on the meaning of article 6(d) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and the state obligations arising therefrom.



Centre for Human Rights alumnus the new Chief Justice-designate of Sierra Leone

14 January 2016 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is proud to announce the appointment of one of its alumni – the Honourable Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm – as the new Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, subject to the approval of Parliament.

Mr Charm holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) with honours from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, and the degree Barrister-at-Law (BL) at the Sierra Leone Law School. Prior to commencing studies at the Centre for Human Rights, he had served as a Prosecutor in Sierra Leone for nine years, from 1992 to 2001, first as State Counsel and then as Senior State Counsel.

Mr Charm’s highest degree and most recent qualification is the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, obtained at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in December 2000. Mr Charm is a member of the pioneer class of this world-renowned programme, and the first Chief Justice of Sierra Leone to have been called to the Bar in that country.

After leaving the University of Pretoria, and while in private practice, Mr Charm co-founded the first legal aid centre in Sierra Leone – the Lawyers Centre for Legal Assistance (LAWCLA) in 2001 – serving as Director of Litigation from 2002 to 2003. LAWCLA was co-founded with Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson, also an alumnus of the Centre for Human Rights (LLM in Human Rights and Constitutional Practice, 1998).




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