The African Law Service brings diverse commentary on legal developments from across our African continent.
The Zambian judiciary announced this week that one of its members, Supreme Court Justice Mumba Malila, had been given the 2019 Zambian Human Rights Commission Award for his contribution to human rights in Zambia and in Africa.
Originally I met Judge Oagile Key Dingake via his decisions. Trawling through the judgments he had delivered during his time on the bench of Botswana, I began to form an idea of who the person behind these decisions would be.
Is it possible for the institution of chieftaincy and its associated traditions to fit comfortably under a system of democratic constitutionalism? Many African countries are working out how the two can coexist. One of the most recent examples comes from Zambia where three judges of the constitutional court have just had to resolve something of a conundrum.
Judicial accountability takes on an additional dimension in an era of online access. Sure, judges are held accountable through the judgments they write. But in an era of online access those judgments need to be available and in the public domain as soon as possible.
Four months ago, we published an enthusiastic story about a new law in Uganda. It was headed, ‘Uganda’s brave new human rights law takes enforcement to a new level’.
This important new law introduced a number of ways to ensure that human rights were respected, including holding state officials responsible for all or part of the legal costs if they were found to have infringed the new law, Officials would also be liable for part of any damages awarded.
This is the first time I have read judgment in a rape trial heard by the High Court of Sierra Leone. There are several ways in which it is different from cases in other jurisdictions involving child rape or ‘defilement’ as it is sometimes called, and some of these differences are worth pointing out.
Our law recognises a variety of ways in which a person may involve him/herself in crime. One may, for example strangle someone to death with one's own hands, stone someone to death jointly with one or more others, keep a lookout while others rob and kill someone, hire someone to kill for you, incite others to commit murder, loan someone a gun with which to kill another, or assist someone to dispose of the dead body, amongst other things.