On 26 and 27 May, 2015 TrustAfrica’s International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund hosted the first in a series of pan-African convenings it is organizing this year for advocacy and human rights groups on best practices in advancing international criminal justice on the continent. This meeting took place in Dakar, Senegal on the theme “Engaging with International Criminal Justice in Africa: Lessons Learned in Mobilization and Advocacy”.
The two-day meeting offered a platform for groups working on international criminal justice to reflect together on the progress made so far and the challenges still being faced in the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of crimes of atrocity. The national groups came from Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. Also present were international organizations promoting the principles of justice and accountability in Africa and, of particular importance, people who are victims seeking means of redress. Jeanne Elone, who directs the ICJ Fund at TrustAfrica, regards the meetings as an opportunity to look back on the advocacy work civil society groups have been doing and to draw lessons to apply to future work. Read Jeanne’s blog for our partner Humanity United: “Improving victim participation in the Ongwen trial: Lessons learned from the Lubanga case.”
TrustAfrica’s engagement with international criminal justice issues began in 2011, and became a five-country programme in 2013 with work in Nigeria, Uganda, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya. Since then, new African mechanisms for international criminal justice have emerged that will advance the fight against impunity. For example, the African Court of Justice has extended its mandate to become an international criminal court, and in June 2015, the African Union tabled a draft policy on transitional justice for vote. In the wake of these welcome changes to Africa’s governance architecture, TrustAfrica is continuing to convene civil society groups and networks that are engaging with these Africa-based mechanisms, and also to offer them technical support. Read a blog on this work by Akwasi Aidoo, founding ED at TrustAfrica who is now a Senior Fellow at Humanity United.