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No evidence, no arrest - Kenya high court

A prominent Kenyan legal academic and practising advocate, Professor Tom Odhiambo Ojienda, is in the midst of a running battle between himself and the country’s tax bosses and prosecution services. The authorities claim that he has not paid tax on payment for work in a series of cases. The claims are particularly damaging for Ojienda, given that his law company advertises itself as ‘a top-tier law firm comprising a dedicated team of advocates and support staff offering expert legal advice’.

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One of Kenya’s best-known lawyers, Professor Tom Odhiambo Ojienda, has won a significant battle in the continuing war between himself and the prosecution services.

Elections for Africa's top human rights bodies should be transparent, merit-based

African Human Rights Day seems like a good time to reflect on an issue that affects all three of the continent’s premier human rights bodies: the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

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Amnesty International has released a report coinciding with African Human Rights Day, October 21. This is the day on which, in 1986, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights first came into effect.

A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE BIZOS - A LARGER THAN LIFE CRUSADER FOR JUSTICE

On the 9th of September 2020 George Bizos, that unrelenting crusader for justice, succumbed to death at a ripe age of 92.

George Bizos was a legend. He was an unmatched champion of human rights and unquestionably committed to the cause of humanity especially the oppressed and downtrodden. The record speaks for itself: he played a pivotal role in many major human rights trials, among them the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, the Nusas Five Trial, the Delmas Treason Trial.

A new anti-corruption hero – and a judge who holds the line

A woman who held firm against a shady 'fronting' scheme has been vindicated by the high court in Mombasa. After Rachel Ndambuki refused to become part of the scheme she was demoted and sent to another office. However, she persisted with her legal action, saying her transfer and demotion had infringed a number of her rights and that she should be paid damages.

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I’ve never met her, but Kenya’s Rachel Ndambuki has become a hero. That’s because of the way that she has stood up strongly against corruption. Likewise, I’ve not met Judge James Rika, but he has my respect because of how firmly he has held the line against government officials who flout court orders, and even ignore contempt findings.

World Mental Health Day highlights shackling, inadequate court response

Just as Human Rights Watch issued its horrific report on the shackling of people with mental illness in many countries around the world, so an equally horrific case has emerged in Namibia. The report and the case show that there is a great deal still to be done to sensitise ordinary members of communities round the world – and, sadly, this includes magistrates, whom one might expect to know better – about how to respond to mental illness and what the law and the constitution require in such cases.

Court dismisses bid to remove 'dirty money' report

As concern grows about enormous amounts of money unlawfully leaving Africa, two new reports and a significant court case highlight the growing problem. A new report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, 'Economic Development in Africa 2020', estimates that if illicit capital flight from Africa were stopped, it could virtually halve the financing gap of $200b that the continent faces if it is to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals.

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Read Golden Laundromat report

 

Why did the applicants in this case imagine they had a case? I still haven’t been able to work it out.

Don't view sexual offences only through traditional male perspective - Chief Justice

In one of her last decisions before ending a five-year contract as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came out strongly on the need for the country’s penal code to be modernised in relation to its definition of consent in sexual offences. The CJ said that at present it only defined ‘absence of consent’, and that it was time ‘to look beyond the traditional male perspective as the prism through which sexual offences must necessarily be viewed.’

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In one of her final decisions as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey has shown herself a strong supporter of the rights of women in cases that concern sexual assault, urging that changes be made in the penal code and that ‘myths’ about the ‘normal reaction’ of someone who had been raped be consigned ‘to the dustbin of the history of male perspective myths about rape victims.’

Will Acting Chief Justice swear in winner of Seychelles presidential election?

The five-year contract of Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came to an end earlier this month, and a new judicial leader for Seychelles must now be appointed. That is the responsibility of the Constitutional Appointments Authority of Seychelles. In the meantime, however, an Acting Chief Justice has been named: Justice Melchior Vidot.

Judges who have attended training workshops offered by the Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa) in Cape Town may look at this photograph and see something familiar about the new Acting Chief Justice of Seychelles, Melchior Vidot.

That wouldn’t be surprising since he has participated in Jifa training on a couple of occasions during which he would have met judges from a number of other jurisdictions.

The Revised Rules of the African Court 2020: towards a more effective African Court

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is not a body that goes in for rapid or unnecessary change. So, when a revised set of rules is announced, everyone interested in the court and its work should take note. This week we’ve asked human rights expert Usani Odum, who is working at the court on secondment from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, for his take on the changes. Here he outlines the new provisions and their likely impact.

High court judge finds 'no place' for sexual offences corroboration rule in Malawi

Many women and men have long felt uncomfortable with the corroboration requirement attached to trials of sexual offences. This requirement, whether a matter of law or practice, appears increasingly unjustifiable, unconstitutional even. It is inevitably, and almost exclusively, directed against women who are the overwhelming targets of sex crimes. Malawi now appears to have joined the list of jurisdictions where the corroboration rule will be regarded with suspicion and discarded.

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From being standard practice, the requirement that there be additional corroboration in sexual crimes is gradually losing its grip. Several African common law countries have already specifically stopped insisting on this requirement, South Africa and Namibia among them.

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