Looking back, Looking ahead: African Philanthropy for Socio-Economic and Political Justice in the 21st Century
On the 6th of June in 2006 TrustAfrica officially began operations as an independent foundation in Dakar, Senegal. The launch of TrustAfrica was a culmination of processes that dates back to 1999 when discussions that eventually led to the idea of TrustAfrica started within Ford Foundation. Most notable in this period was the creation in 2001 of the Special Initiative for Africa (SIA) within Ford Foundation tasked with leading the consultations and processes leading up to the establishment of TrustAfrica as an independent African foundation based on the continent. 2016 marks ten years of TrustAfrica’s existence. It’s a befitting moment to recall the journey the institution has travelled, reflect on the experience gathered over the years and indeed, look ahead to the future as the organization enters yet another chapter in its existence.
On Monday, May 30, 2016, the Extraordinary African Chambers in charge of the trial of former Chadian President, Hissène Habré delivered its verdict after 4 months of hearings and over 3 months deliberations.
On behalf of the Court, Presiding Judge Gustave Kam Gberdao found the former strongman of Ndjamena guilty of crimes against humanity and torture. In the verdict, the Court also convicted Hissène Habré of acts of sexual violence and rape. These charges were absent from the initial indictment. However, they were brought to light by civil parties and their lawyers during the hearings.
Hissène Habré was sentenced to life imprisonment. Subsequently, the Court granted 15 days to the accused counsels to appeal the decision.
20th July, 2015, Dakar, Senegal: The trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré, accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, began before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal. The alleged crimes were committed during Habré’s regime from 1982 to 1990, when an estimated 40,000 people are reported to have died or disappeared.
SRT grantee, TrustAfrica have enhanced independent coverage of the Habré trial through their International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund who worked closely with a consortium of civil society organizations and Senegalese law graduates. The ICJ Fund trained a group of law graduates from the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar, to monitor, document and provide daily reports on the proceedings in both French and English across various platforms. The work of these students provides an invaluable resource to ensure there is an independent platform of informed actors who can provide accurate and timely analysis of the proceedings, and share this information in Africa and beyond.
TrustAfrica works with African and international partners to develop the capacity and networks of groups working on the documentation of atrocity crime. A key technical resource in this work is the Global Justice and Research Project, led by Liberian journalist Hassan Bility. More information available here.
On July 20th, 2015, the trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré began before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Dakar, Senegal. Habré is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture. The alleged crimes were committed during Habré’s regime from 1982 to 1990, when an estimated 40,000 people are reported to have died or disappeared.
Arusha, March 9th, 2016 - TrustAfrica and the Coalition for an Effective African Court (CEAC) convened African civil society from across the continent in Arusha from March 8th to 9th 2016, to promote their engagement with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AcHPR).
Africa has indeed played a pioneering role in the establishment of courts with international criminal jurisdiction, spearheaded by civil society advocacy and the independent contributions of a number of governments. While AU initiatives place decision and policy makers at the center of discussions on ICJ, they also recognize the role played by African civil society in the development of ICJ practice in Africa. The meeting sought to distill best practices in terms of victims’ participation in Africa in order to advance victims’ rights and access to justice through the African Charter establishing the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.