The African Court Research Initiative
The overall project goal was to offer research- based analysis that will provide technical assistance to the African Union’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) through which to achieve the operationalization of the African Court of Justice and Human and People’s Rights (African Court) – especially its international criminal jurisdiction as provided for under the “Malabo Protocol”.
The African Research Initiative (ACRCI) prepared draft Rules of Procedure and Evidence and draft Elements of Crimes. These documents were drafted as working documents, with the goal of providing a working basis for the judges of the future court with a possible framework for application of the Court’s governing instruments. The documents were subject to expert discussion at Geneva in early May 2019. As a core deliverable of the project, a compilation of an African Court volume, The African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights in Context: Development and Challenges, was published by Cambridge University Press in May 2019.
The book provides the most comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the articles of the Malabo Protocol to date by a group of leading scholars and practitioners from Africa and around the world. It will be used as resource for the African Union legal office as well as academics, legal professionals, members of government, policy makers, key officials, especially its future judges. The compendium, in book form and as an open-source on-line resource, has involved over 40 distinguished academicss, authors and practitioners who have offered a nuanced view on the challenges that the future African court might face and how to recognize and address these challenges
In July 2021, ACRI commissioned Ms. Lorraine Smith-van Lin, an independent international law expert, to carry out a comprehensive review and finalization of the full draft Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crime, under the general supervision and guidance of Professor Charles Jalloh, Principal Investigator (PI) of the ACRI. The consultant was requested to provide high-level legal research and consultancy services to assist the PI to conclude the ACRI-Phase III research, including the review of expert comments from previous roundtables, harmonisation and consolidation of the full draft of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crimes. The consultant’s review was carried out between July and December 2021.
The purpose of the Expert Meeting, which was held under the framework of the CILPA was to discuss the expert review and to finalise Phase-III of the research and drafting process. The meeting brought together the legal experts who prepared the first drafts of the documents, the consultant reviewer, and select expert practitioners with relevant experience on the African Court and issues of international dispute settlement. The meeting provided an opportunity for all expert participants to reassess, and as necessary, to help provide ideas for revision and finalization of the draft instruments.
The consultant presented general findings of the review and analysis of the draft documents and facilitated feedback and commentary by the legal drafters and expert participants. The closed meeting was a working session with detailed examination of specific themes and provisions identified by the consultant, close consideration of the harmonisation of each of the draft rules and real-time edits to the documents. Based on the discussions in the expert meeting, the independent consultant was able to deliver a complete and consolidated Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crime, as well as an Annex.
International Criminal Court in Africa Project
The crux of the ICC in Africa grant is Bringing the African Perspective to the ICC Reform Discussion, and entails a three-pronged project:
A. Research Consultancy.
In June of 2022, CILPA officially commissioned three pan-African expert consultants to write papers on The Missing Link in the ICC Reform Report and Follow-up Process, that seek to highlight the African State party concerns for reform and how they could be addressed and integrated going forward.
i. Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi: Background Paper on the Relationship between African States and the ICC
ii. Mr. Geoffrey Kevins Lugano: Examining the Role of African States in Supporting ICC Investigations, and Issues of Cooperation and Complementarity under the Rome Statute
iii. Ms. Lorraine Smith van Lin: Examining the Domestic Legal Framework in the African States that Today Form Part of the Situational Docket of the ICC.
A successful 2-day Workshop on Bringing the African Perspective to the ICC Reform Discussion was hosted by CILPA, with the assistance of our institutional partner, the Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone (CARL), on Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8, 2022, at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, 17 Lumley Beach Road, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The research and analysis carried out by the consultants during the first part of the project formed the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the success and limitations encountered by the ICC in its ongoing reform process. Bringing together the consultants and invited legal experts, the Workshop was a working session with a detailed examination of specific themes and provisions identified by the consultants.
A lead discussant was assigned to each consultant to provide substantive feedback on the papers which were shared in advance of the Workshop) before opening the floor to the approximately 25 experts who attended in person and online. The Workshop was also attended and reported on by local media.
Over the course of the workshop, the expert invitees provided feedback and input to the consultants’ papers. It provided an opportunity for participants to express views on how the reforms could be carried out to ensure more transparency and inclusivity of African concerns. The expert participants reassessed, and as necessary, helped provide ideas for revision and finalization of the draft papers. Based on these contributions the consultants were able to make the relevant adjustments to their respective papers before their various reform recommendations were published by CILPA.
C. Publication and Dissemination
Based on the feedback received during the Workshop and comments provided by the Founder of CILPA, Prof. Charles Jalloh, on the consultant’s work, the consultants updated their papers and delivered the same to CILPA during December 2022 to February 2023. As the papers were received, they underwent an internal review as well as an external peer review by an expert in the field, after which the consultants were paid the remainder of the consultancy fee.
After an internal editing process the three papers were published as open-source Occasional Papers on CILPA’s website on 28 September 2023, which can be viewed and downloaded here.
It is intended that the three papers, along with a paper written by Prof. Charles Jalloh on The ICC Reform Process and the Failure to Address the African State Concerns on the Sequencing of Peace with Criminal Justice Under Article 53 of the Rome Statute, will also be published by CILPA in two successive special issues of the African Journal of International Criminal Justice, a peer- reviewed academic journal focusing on human rights and rule of law issues in Africa, co-published in collaboration with Eleven International Journals. The papers are currently undergoing formatting and editing by Eleven Publishing and the intention is for the first issue to be published before the end of 2023 and the second one in eary 2024.
Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi – Background Paper on the Relationship between African States and the ICC
Mr. Geoffrey Kevins Lugano – Examining the Domestic Legal Framework in the African States that Today Form Part of the Situational Docket of the ICC
Ms. Lorraine Smith van Lin – Examining the Role of African States in Supporting ICC Investigations, and Issues of Cooperation and Complementarity under the Rome Statute.
Prof. Charles C. Jalloh – The ICC Reform Process and the Failure to Address the African State Concerns on the Sequencing of Peace with Criminal Justice Under Article 53 of the Rome Statute.
CILPA, with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations also held a side event to the twenty-second session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) providing an opportunity for the consultants to present their research and analysis in conjunction with a discussion with the State representative members of the Review Mechanism with the aim of bringing African perspectives to the ongoing ICC reform discourse, and determining the extent to which previous African State proposals were addressed by the IER.
International Law-Based Framework For Reparations for Historical Injustices Suffered by People of African Descent
It would open with independent research and be followed by workshops at which the initial research results will be tested in a rigorous peer review driven process, and thereafter, the finalization of the research and the dissemination of the research results.
As to the scope of historical injustices to be explored in this project, it will focus on historic injustices suffered by people of African descent as a result of slavery, the slave trade, and colonialism, while considering interrelated issues of gender, environmental damage, and systemic economic disparity. The added value centers on clarifying, to the extent possible, the state of the law applicable at the time. This project will run from October 2023 to October 2025.