Category: AIF Issue 35

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Nigeria: delays and distractions

One of Nigeria’s most dramatic episodes of judicial corruption happened in January 2013. The country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged six officials with pilfering 32 billion naira [$204m] from the Nigerian police pension fund. One of the accused, John Yakubu Yusuf, a deputy director in the police pension service, had admitted pocketing […]

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Côte d’Ivoire: war crimes and elections

Elections should bring peace, not war. But for the past 15 years, whenever voters in Côte d’Ivoire went to the polls, ballots turned to bullets. After the 2010 election sparked the latest civil war, tensions remained, leaving the victors scrambling to forge a new order built on justice and reconciliation. In the wake of violence, […]

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Southern Africa: defamation and insult

Defamation and insult laws remain on the books in many countries, but for the most part, the West has abandoned enforcing these statutes. In much of Africa, however, criminal trials for insult and defamation are still commonplace and continue to have a chilling effect on free expression. Research by media watchdog the Committee to Protect […]

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Mozambique’s gender-based violence laws

  One night in April 2013, Luisa, a 46-year-old woman living in a small town in Mozambique, was on her way home when two men dragged her into an abandoned hut and raped her. “I wanted to die, but I told myself I must survive for my daughters,” said Luisa. After the ordeal in Boane, […]

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Tunisia: transitional justice

  Tunisia’s “transitional justice” process, which was set in motion in late 2013 after the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, has been bedevilled by problems from  inception. A lack of precision in the law that launched the process, as well as public disagreements among members of a new truth […]

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Egypt: worse than before?

  Since president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took power in Egypt in May 2014, critics have accused him of using the law and the courts to criminalise opposition to his regime. They say he is taking extreme measures to grant himself powers similar to those held by former ruler Hosni Mubarak during the 30-year state of emergency […]

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Eritrea: dictatorship and terror

  Eritrea is a paradox, a country that dips vertiginously from the mountains into the sea, from mellow temperate Asmara, the capital, to the scorching coastal port of Massawa. On the capital’s boulevards, fashionistas rock Afros and skinny jeans while espresso machines roar in the cafés. Asmara is a modernist wonderland. But behind these tired, […]

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Sudan: playing the anti-Western card

The International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, have shaped Sudanese domestic politics and the country’s external relations for more than half a decade — sometimes in unexpected ways. On March 4, 2009, Mr Bashir became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC. He was charged with […]

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Namibia: justice delayed

In September 2015 the Namibian High Court, in the country’s capital Windhoek, found Geoffrey Mwilima, a former opposition parliamentarian, and 29 others guilty in the so-called Caprivi treason trial. The court convicted the accused of a range of offences, including high treason, murder and attempted murder. However, another 35 people were acquitted. The legal drama […]

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Senegal: universal jurisdiction

The trial of Hissène Habré, Chad’s former tyrannical ruler, has raised hopes that new systems of so-called hybrid justice can be developed. The Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), a new body established by the African Union (AU) within the Senegalese court system, is hearing the Habré trial. It marks the first time that the courts of […]

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Uganda: justice in transition

Thomas Kwoyelo is the first person to face trial in Uganda for crimes he allegedly committed while fighting for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a nearly 30-year-old rebel group that now operates in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A Uganda Supreme Court ruling in April removed legal hurdles for […]

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