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African Court’s existence threatened by lack of cooperation from AU states

Africa’s premier regional human rights court, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has released a detailed report on its activities and the challenges it faces. The report, published earlier this month, gives information about the difficulties and achievements of the court during 2020 as well as its plans for the immediate future.

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The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights fears that the lack of cooperation by some African Union member states threatens the court’s very existence.

Judges told not to make traditional rituals a condition of bail in sexual assault cases

The supreme court of India has slammed judges who impose ‘wholly inappropriate’ bail conditions in cases of sexual violence, like requiring that the accused visit the woman concerned and give her gifts. The court has also ordered that judges, lawyers and prosecutors must undergo gender sensitivity training to stop language and bail conditions that retraumatise victims.

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It’s hard to believe that a court, considering bail in a sexual harassment case, should stipulate that the accused must visit the woman concerned with ‘a box of sweets’ and request her to complete various traditional rituals with him, that would bind them together as ‘brother and sister’.

Majority of Zambia's constitutional court: We are bound by this high court decision

When the constitution sets a minimum education level for members of parliament, what should be done about a candidate, accepted for nomination to parliament and ultimately voted in, who turns out not to have satisfied the requirements? Five judges of Zambia’s constitutional court split on this significant question, leaving the MP concerned, Lawrence Nyirenda, safely in his place.

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Zambia’s constitutional court, last word on all constitutional matters, has been considering an application brought by a former member of the military and a member of Zambia’s diplomatic corps, Bizwayo Nkunika.

Supreme Court judge's sensational claims against Chief Justice

What was meant to be the end of a high-profile political case intended to challenge the outcome of Uganda’s national elections earlier this year turned into something even more astonishing late this week: a senior member of the country’s Supreme Court claimed that Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo had tried to gag her and stop her reading her minority decision in the matter until he had vetted her ruling.

This week saw an unparalleled drama play out in Uganda’s supreme court. Now, lawyers and members of the public are waiting for clarification by the country’s new Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the jurist who followed former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, after having been appointed seven months ago.  

Uganda's Internet closure during elections challenged at East African Court of Justice

Uganda’s government, which closed down social media and Internet access during the country’s January 2021 elections, is far from the only state to take such action over the time of national polls. In fact, research indicates that Senegal recently became the 63rd country to restrict social media access since 2015. But in the case of Uganda, the East Africa Law Society has decided to take action, launching a challenge in the East African Court of Justice.

Read founding papers of the East Africa Law Society

Like the East African Community (EAC) itself, the East Africa Law Society (EALS) aims to promote regional integration. In particular, it aims to support the East African Community and its organs and institutions in the promotion of good governance, human rights and the rule of law.

A women’s month win in Kenya – court finds ban on female genital mutilation constitutional

Since 2011 female genital mutilation has been illegal in Kenya – though too late for the 21 percent of girls and women in that country, aged between 15 and 49, estimated to have undergone the practice already. Though the ban was widely welcomed, and was introduced to the National Assembly as the brainchild of the cross-party Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association, it has not been accepted by everyone. In fact, some traditionalists feel so strongly about it that they have gone to court with a claim that the law banning FGM is unconstitutional.

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At first a reader may think that the judgment in this case is some kind of practical joke. How can it possibly be, as the judges’ first lines say, that the applicant in a case testing the constitutionality of Kenya’s ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) is a ‘Dr Tatu Kamua … a medical doctor’?

Dangers of policing Malawi's 'green', off-season fishing ban

At the heart of this unusual decision by Malawi’s senior magistrates’ court lies a dramatic account of the dangers involved in trying to protect the fragile ecosystem of the country’s fish-rich Lake Chilwa. Apart from ecological concerns the court also speaks with some anxiety about the way police put their members in unnecessary danger by sending them to deal with well-armed, illegal fishing people while hopelessly outnumbered. They were provided with just a paddle boat – against the engine-powered boats used by the fishermen – and were not adequately armed.

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The dangers facing poorly armed police trying to enforce off-season fishing for Malawi’s Lake Chilwa have been graphically illustrated in a new judgment delivered by the country’s senior magistrates’ court last week.

‘Run for your lives’, judge urges partners in abusive relationships

In a most unusual judgment from Kenya, one that fits perfectly with March marking international women’s month, a judge has found that a woman who killed her husband acted in self-defence after years of violent abuse at his hands. The judge sentenced the woman to prison until the rising of the court and ordered that she should receive counselling to help her recover from the trauma of the long-term abuse inflicted by her husband.

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While the world marks March as women’s month, a judge in Kenya has been struggling to find the most appropriate sentence to impose on a woman who took matters into herr own hands when faced with a violent partner.

Knowing where to shop?

“Does your case belong in this court?” This question, when posed by a Judge, has the potential to strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned practitioners.  Practitioners and litigants who have not properly acquainted themselves with the relevant provisions of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and Constitution are often very confused as to the scope of matters over which the Labour Court carries exclusive jurisdiction and those in relation to which it has concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court.

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