latest content

'Help us', Tanzania's opposition urges African Court

Elections in Tanzania at the end of October passed with little comment from outside that country. And since the declaration of John Magufuli as president, Tanzanian politics have been relegated to a non-issue in most other parts of the world. But not for long: disputed aspects of the polls are about to be ventilated in court even though legal challenges to aspects of the election are not allowed in Tanzania’s own courts. Activists have taken their dispute over the way the elections were conducted to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Unsuccessful in the recent elections and unable to express its concerns over fairness and allegations of electoral malpractice in the domestic courts, Tanzania’s opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency Wazalendo have asked the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights for help.

Remembering the first woman to argue before the US Supreme Court

The first woman to argue a matter before the US Supreme Court, Belva Lockwood, was also directly responsible for ensuring that the first black lawyer was able to argue in the Supreme Court some time later. Belva Lockwood's landmark first case, Kaiser v Strickney, was argued 140 years ago this week.

 

This week marks the 140th anniversary of the day that Kaiser v Stickney was argued in the US Supreme Court. Though not a case of any great significance in itself, it is remembered as the first time that a woman lawyer was heard in that court.

Even refugees have a right to be heard on voting issues – high court

Key organisations working with Kenya’s vast refugee community want them to elect leaders based on where they live now, rather than where they came from. They say this will reduce ethnic tension and will fall in line with the general approach to elections in Kenya. To implement these changes, the country’s refugee affairs secretariat and the United Nations refugee agency have been working on new guidelines for how refugee community leaders will be chosen. But it turns out that these guidelines were not discussed beforehand with the affected communities.

‘Unprecedented levels of political interference with courts’ – Chief Justice

The leader of the judiciary in England and Wales has reacted sharply to continuing attempts by politicians to interfere with the judiciary, judicial appointments and judicial decisions. In fact, he has even suggested that politicians should be taught about the boundaries that should exist between parliament and the judiciary and that a short course could be drawn up for new members, to explain these ‘boundaries’ and why they should be observed.
 

When you read a headline like the one above it is easy to imagine that the Chief Justice expressing these concerns is from some obscure country with no understanding of judicial independence, no history of separation of powers. But in fact the Chief Justice who made these observations was the Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, head of the judiciary of England and Wales and President of the Courts of England and Wales.

Copyright & A2K Issues - 1 December 2020

This is a free online international Information Service covering various topics, including copyright, plagiarism and other IP matters, Open Access, open publishing, open learning resources, institutional repositories, scholarly communication, digitization and library matters, mobile technologies, issues affecting access to k

 

Copyright, Open Access & Scholarly Publishing Webinars (December 2020)

Release police review report, urge more than 20 South African civil society organisations

Dozens of civil society organisations have urged the government to release a report into South Africa's police methods, conducted by a panel of experts set up in the wake of the 2012 Marikana massacre - when police fired into groups of striking miners, killing 34 and leaving more than 70 injured. The report closely examined police methods and related issues and could have played an important role in relation to a pending Bill related to the police.

In one of the darkest days of South Africa’s history, 34 miners were shot and killed by police in August 2012. Official figures put the number of those injured by the police at 78. Though it is a crucial moment in the country’s post-apartheid history, many ends have been left undone and families, victims and society generally have yet to reach proper closure.

Former President, Judge, both ordered to pay legal costs from their own pockets

In a further stunning reversal for Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, he and a former high court judge, Lloyd Muhara, have been ordered personally to pay the legal costs of a case brought to reverse a major decision taken by them just before the elections at which Mutharika was voted out of office. By that decision they hoped to force the Chief Justice to go on leave, pending retirement, in retaliation for a judicial decision finding that the May 2019 elections were invalid.

Read judgment 

Malawi’s judiciary has done it again, handing down a landmark decision that underscores judicial independence and the separation of powers, as well as the heavy price to be paid for anyone who attempts to do so.

The story begins with Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, who had some harsh and dubious things to say about the judiciary and its power relative to the legislature.

Lesotho amnesty deal unconstitutional – apex court

Relatives of people murdered allegedly on the orders of prominent politicians in Lesotho have gone to court to challenge a new agreement brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Under this agreement, all parties have been urged to join talks on the way forward for the country, and those now in exile out of fear of being charged with murder and other crimes, have been assured no action would be taken against them if they returned for the talks.

Read judgment

When Lesotho’s squabbling political parties bound themselves to a talk-shop, what – if anything – were the legal implications of that agreement? This question has become crucial in Lesotho, and it is made more complex by the fact that the idea of serious negotiations comes from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Since SADC’s involvement is hardly a secret, what standing does any agreement related to the negotiations have in international law?

‘Unstable arithmetic’ indicates corrupt deal – judge

When a Tanzanian court clerk appealed against his conviction and sentence for corruptly demanding payments from a would-be litigant at court, he did not realise that his faulty sums would help confirm his guilt. What Judge Amour Khamis would later describe as ‘unstable arithmetic’ convinced the court that there was no truth in the explanation given for the payments and that conviction and sentence should be confirmed.

Read judgment

No-one seems to have warned the accused in this case that faulty arithmetical calculations might actually help prove commission of a crime. For Jackson Mrefu it was a slip that was fatal to his case. It lost him his appeal against four counts of corrupt transactions, contravening Tanzania’s Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act.

Bail for death row prisoner after long appeal delay

Normally a reader might have little sympathy for someone convicted of murder who is serving time in prison. But the case of Malawian Charles Khoviwa is rather different. Sitting on death row for many years, Khoviwa has been trying to have sentence in his case reconsidered, now that the courts have decided that the mandatory death penalty, in force at the time of his conviction, is unconstitutional.

Read judgment

Malawi’s judiciary is being hailed internationally for its bravery, sense of justice and protection of judicial independence.

Pages