Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) is an influential pan-African entity devoted to promoting rights and accountability. AFLA was founded on 21st October 1995, to coincide with Africa Day of Human Rights. Celebrated for its convening power and its flagship publications, AFLA provides leadership and support to key institutions and organizations. AFLA operates throughout Africa and has a small office in the international legal capital, The Hague.
AFLA has been at the forefront of universalizing international criminal justice and has engaged with stakeholders in Africa and the Global North in this endeavour. AFLA has worked to increase accessibility of the ICC to national actors. It has spearheaded efforts to incorporate much needed African perspectives in the global campaign to promote accountability and end impunity for gross human rights violations. In the process, AFLA has become a leading voice in international criminal justice.
Recognition of Evelyn A. Ankumah and AFLA
‘A major flaw in the ICC Statute was the lack of institutional recognition for Defence and Victims’ Counsel. With no institutional recognition, Defence and Victims’ Counsel at the ICC were perceived as intruders in judicial proceedings before the Court. In this grossly unfair context, the fulfilment of the fair trial guarantees in the Rome Statute could not be reasonably attained or ascertained. This institutional injustice was obvious to everyone but no one took up the challenge to address it’.
‘Evelyn Ankumah, the Executive Director of AFLA took up the challenge. At the 13th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC held at the UN Headquarters in New York, in December 2014, she provided a platform and voice for experts and resource persons to address the problem and find solutions. This provided impetus leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Court Bar Association in 2016 and its institutional recognition by the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC’.
Chief Charles Taku, Immediate Past President, International Criminal Court Bar Association