Constitutionalism and Human Rights

This channel aggregates information on constitutionalism, constitution-making, constitutional reform, human rights and democracy issues in Africa. We curate and feature legal developments, caselaw and legislation, scholarly commentary, blogs, and columns.

Current contributors

Carmel Rickard

Legal Columnist.
Editor in Chief of the Newsletter of the Judicial Institute for Africa at UCT

Since she began working as a journalist in 1981, Carmel Rickard has specialised in writing about legal affairs. She has won widespread recognition (local and international) as well as a number of awards for her work, and in 1992/3 was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard.

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Lone judicial voice in runup to Zimbabwe's elections

OF all the many pre-election cases heard by Zimbabwe’s courts, only one resulted in a judicial decision that broadened and protected democracy. And even in this case, the outcome was overturned on appeal.

The stand-out case was heard by Judge Joseph Martin Mafusire. In Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe v Zanu-PF he was asked for an interim order to prevent school pupils, teachers, school buses and buildings from being used as though they were resources belonging to the ruling party.

Between abduction and contempt of court: children left without parents

A NIGERIAN father of three sons, Levi Egeneonu, claims his imprisonment in the UK for contempt of court is unjust because he is caught between conflicting judgments in the UK and in Nigeria and cannot obey both. Egeneonu, also known as Bernard Nkem, has been before UK judges at least a dozen times over his 2013 absconding with the children while the family was on holiday in Nigeria. His wife, Ijeoma Egeneonu, has not seen her children since then.

Court rejects international arrest warrants in African trafficking case

COMMENTING on the documentation before the UK court in the extradition case, judge Andrew Nicol said, “Nothing about these warrants is straightforward”.

The couple were tried and convicted in their absence, and the Italian courts now want them brought to Naples for sentencing. Despite the confusion and inadequacy in the documentation referred to by the UK court during the appeal, however, a number of significant details emerged.

“Tainted” judicial history remembered in new Kenya judgement

THE timing of this judgment is particularly significant. It comes as tension builds between Kenya’s judiciary and other arms of government over judges’ powers to consider the meaning and application of statutes and to act when there are breaches of the constitution. Just a few days ago, for example, some MPs said judges should stop their “constant meddling” in the affairs of the legislature.

Statement: Shining a light on the urgency of implementing the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa

On 13 June, every year the world commemorates the International Albinism Awareness Day. This year the International Albinism Awareness day is commemorated under the theme ‘shining our light to the world’, providing an opportunity to reflect on progress and challenges facing persons with albinism.

Ugandan judge slashes “ridiculously” high legal costs in public interest case

UGANDAN advocate Twinobusigye Severino was in parliament the day a row broke out over claims of bribery in the oil sector. He heard hecklers calling government ministers “thieves” and “thugs”, and he listened to an MP saying – to great applause – that if he had Idi Amin’s powers he would publicly execute those accused of corruption. When those same angry hecklers then voted to set up an inquiry into the alleged corruption, Severino went to court with a constitutional petition. 

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