Nairobi, Kenya, March 2010

Nairobi, Kenya, March 2010

(East Africa Focal Point)

The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative in association with the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists held a meeting on the nomination and election of judges to the African Court in Nairobi on 18 March 2010.

The meeting, comprising 30 human rights activists and lawyers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa, was opened by Kenyan deputy foreign affairs minister, Richard Onyonka. The Minister acknowledged the important role of civil society in influencing the nomination process of judges to the African Court. He called on civil society to submit names of suitable candidates for the vacancies at the African Court. Discussions centred on the strategies to be adopted in influencing the nominations and elections process due to take place in Kampala in July 2010. The participants acknowledged that the gender imbalance would need to be addressed in the election of the new judges. Also, and importantly, attracting qualified judges was critical for the effectiveness and integrity of the African Court.

Some of resolutions emerging from the halfday meeting are the following:

  • The Coalition and its partners should engage key institutions such as regional law societies, bar associations and organisations for nominees, in preparation for the upcoming elections of judges to the African Court.
  • There should be engagement with National Human Rights Institutions in impressing on their governments the importance of qualified candidates.
  • The media should be encouraged to publicise the upcoming elections of judges to the African Court.
  • The establishment of processes at national level for the selection of judges to international judicial bodies such as the African Court should be explored.

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