Zambian Supreme Court Judge, Mumba Malila, has been honoured for his human rights work. Earlier this week, Justice Malila was the 2019 recipient of the Zambian Human Rights Commission Award, given in recognition of his contribution to the field of human rights both in Zambia and, more broadly, across Africa.
For years organisations and individuals have urged the government of Sierra Leone to re-think its 2015 ban on pregnant girls attending mainstream schools and writing exams. But they had no success. Eventually some of these organisations approached the Court of Justice of the regional Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), arguing that important rights of such girls were violated by the bar on attending school. Today, the court noted its decision: the ban was discriminatory and had to be overturned, said the judges.
When the Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa) schedules training for African judges, one of the most important preparatory issues is who to invite as faculty. Then follows an anxious time of discussion to ensure that the invited jurist will be available and willing to assist. Among those who regularly offers enthusiastic help and expertise is Justice Oagile ‘Key’ Dingake, originally from Botswana’s high court but now enjoying an international judicial career. Justice Dingake's remarkable writing, teaching and judicial life thus far – he is in his mid-50s - has been the centre of a new media profile that we are delighted to share with you.
Contemporary Zambian laws allowing the President to regulate traditional chiefly appointments have been declared unconstitutional. The laws, based on colonial-era ordinances, were tested when a prominent traditional leader disputed the President’s power to legitimise a chief’s appointment through ‘recognition’. The court found that these presidential powers infringed the amended constitution saying ‘no law’ could allow anyone the right to ‘recognise or withdraw the recognition of a chief’. Given the promises of the constitution and its supremacy over all other law, provisions of the Chiefs Act allowing the President a say in the choosing of chiefs and other traditional leaders were unconstitutional and were to be ‘expunged’ from the statute books.
Rwanada’s first post-genocide Chief Justice, Jean Mutsinzi, died last week after a short illness. He was 81. Justice Mutsinzi served as Chief Justice in Rwanda between 1995 and 1999, and was later a member of both the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, including a two-year term as president of this court.