A Leading Voice


Africa Legal Aid has been at the forefront in promoting international justice in Africa, and has worked to increase awareness and accessibility of national actors and stakeholders in Africa to international justice. We have spearheaded efforts to incorporate much needed African perspectives in the global campaign to promote accountability and end impunity for gross human rights offences. In the process, AFLA has become a leading voice in promoting accountability and ending impunity for gross human rights offenses.

AFLA became engaged in international criminal justice after the establishment of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and continued by engaging stakeholders in the universal jurisdiction debate shortly after Judge Baltasar Garzon indicted Pinochet in Spain for crimes committed in Chile resulting in Pinochet’s arrest in the United Kingdom. Two Experts Meetings were subsequently convened by AFLA, resulting in the drafting and adoption of ‘the Cairo-Arusha Principles on Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences: an African Perspective.’ The Cairo-Arusha Principles adopted under the auspices of AFLA in 2002 have been coined ‘the voice of Africa on universal jurisdiction.’ The Principles enjoy international recognition and have been used for advocacy and lobbying initiatives by interested parties. They were also cited in an acclaimed dissenting opinion in the Arrest Warrant Case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)[1].

Coincidentally, the Cairo-Arusha Principles were adopted the same year that the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force. Quite naturally, AFLA engaged the ICC and monitored its activities from the inception of the Court.  It was AFLA that convened the first major conference to introduce the ICC to human rights and justice sectors in Africa six months after the inauguration of the Court.[2] AFLA has dedicated several of its publications to the work of the ICC, including volume 3 in its Book Series, ‘African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice’[3], with a Preface by Luis Moreno Ocampo, first Prosecutor of the ICC. As well, a 2016 volume in AFLA’s Book Series is on the theme “The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On’.[4] The Book has a Foreword by Benjamin Ferencz, last surviving Prosecutor of the Nuremburg Trials, and a Preface by Navanethem Pillay, immediate past United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

AFLA has an extensive track record on international criminal justice and has convened various capacity building and awareness raising meetings on the evolving regime of international justice, both on its own and in cooperation with key stakeholders.

The dialogues have addressed cutting-edge themes including: The Interface between Peace and International Criminal Justice in Africa;[5] A Holistic Approach to Gender based Violence[6]; The Al Bashir Arrest Warrant: the World vs. Africa or the African Union vs. The People of Africa;[7] Africa and the First ICC Review Conference[8]; ICC Complementarity Workshop in Kenya;[9] The ICC in a Politically Divided World[10]; Africa and the ICC: One Decade On;[11] Africa and the ICC: a Stakeholder’s Meeting on Unsettling and Emerging Issues;[12] Africa and the ICC: Engaging North African and Francophone Countries;[13] Taking the Higher Ground in the Debate on the ICC and Africa: Fostering Greater Cooperation with the Diplomatic Spheres[14]; Africa and the International Criminal Court: Lessons Learned, Synergies Ahead;[15] Cooperation, Defence Perspectives, an d Clarifying the Immunity Debate[16]; Universalizing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;[17] Complementarity: Beyond ICC;[18] Complementarity, the Habré Trial, and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction;[19]Engaging South Africa’s Youth in International Criminal Justice;[20] Carrying forward the Innovations of the Extraordinary African Chambers for the Prosecution of Habré;[21] ICC Withdrawals: Is Africa Running Away from Justice.[22] As well, AFLA convened three events to introduce, launch and present its recent book The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On.


[1] Dissenting Opinion of Judge Christine van den Wyngaert, Yerodia case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000, Democratic Republic of Congo vs. Belgium.

[2] Conference on the International Criminal Court and Africa; Accra, October 2003.

[3] Evelyn A. Ankumah and Edward Kwakwa (Eds), 2005, Africa Legal Aid, Accra, The Hague, Pretoria.

[4] Evelyn A. Ankumah (Ed.), 2016, Intersentia Publishing, Antwerpen, Cambridge and Portland.

[5] Africa Legal Aid, in cooperation with the International Criminal Court, Accra, June 2007.

[6] Africa Legal Aid and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Dakar, March 2009.

[7] Africa Legal Aid South North Dialogue, The Hague, April 2010.

[8] Africa Legal Aid Workshop held in Kampala, Uganda, May-June, 2010.

[9] Africa Legal Aid in cooperation with Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists, Nairobi, December 2010.

[10] Africa Legal Aid in cooperation with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), Gaborone, October 2011.

[11] Arusha, Tanzania, 28th February – 1st March.

[12] Roundtable Meeting held in The Hague, 12 July 2013.

[13] Tunis, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2013.

[14] ASP Side Event, The Hague, 22 November 2013.

[15] Johannesburg, South Africa, 9-10 September 2014.

[16] ASP Side Event, United Nations, New York, 12 December 2014.

[17] Johannesburg, South Africa, 18-19 May 2014.

[18] ASP Side Event, 20 November 2015, in cooperation with Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC).

[19] Dakar, Senegal, 30 May – 1 June 2016.

[20]   Johannesburg, South Africa, 5th October 2016, in cooperation with the Division of Internationalization of the University of Johannesburg.

[21] ASP Side Event, 18 November 2016, in cooperation with The Hague Institute for Global Justice, The Hague, The Netherlands.

[22] ASP Side Event, 18 November 2016, in cooperation with Southern Africa Litigation Centre, The Hague, The Netherlands.


Africa Legal Aid

Laan van Meerdervoort 70

2517 AN Den Haag

The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)703 452 842

+31 (0)703 455 812

Fax: +31 (0)703 454 968



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