The Centre has, since the beginning of 2018, made litigation a permanent feature of its activities through the instrumentality of a Litigation and Implementation Unit which will dedicate itself to strategic human rights litigation and follow-up on implementation of decisions of international and regional human rights bodies. The aim of the Litigation and Implementation Unit is to strategically use the law through the instrumentality of judicial and quasi-judicial institutions to enforce human rights, prevent violation of human rights and or seek redress for human rights violations. The Unit will pursue litigation to achieve any of these ends but in many instances litigation will be employed as an advocacy tool to support other forms of advocacy within the Centre or other partner institutions to promote, protect and fulfil human rights. While the aim of the Unit is to seek redress for victims of human rights violations, it shall in addition, always endeavour to seek more structural remedies which has the potential to effect law reform and social change. The Unit will also seek to conduct research on the impact of litigation in various contexts in other to enhance the use of litigation as well as research on the implementation of human rights decisions to, for instance, ascertain which remedial orders are more likely to be implemented by states and what factors influence implementation in order to enhance the nature of remedial orders to seek from human rights bodies.
The Centre submitted a case to the African Court against the government of Tanzania, seeking redress for persons with albinism who have been subjected to killings, mutilations and various forms of discrimination in Tanzania. The application seeks financial compensation and rehabilitation for victims and their dependants, symbolic remedies as well as structural reforms such as legislative changes and efforts on the part of the government to effect social change through public education.
In terms of amicus curiae submissions, the Centre intervened as amicus in the cases brought by the Democratic Alliance against the government of South Africa on the unconstitutionality of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute without prior public consultation. This case eventually led to the government withdrawing its notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute and effectively re-joining the ICC. Additionally, the Centre in collaboration with some partner institutions, submitted an amicus curiae application before the African Commission in a case of enforced disappearance pending against Djibouti. The aim of this application is to assist the Commission with information on the standard of proof in cases of enforced disappearances, where the victim in most cases does not have access to essential evidence. The African Commission had initially ruled the case inadmissible on grounds that the applicant could not conclusively prove that he was indeed detained within the jurisdiction of Djibouti and hence we felt strongly that requiring a victim of enforced disappearance to provide “conclusive” proof was too high a standard especially at the admissibility stage since the state is usually the only entity which has access to such evidence in cases of enforced disappearances.