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Governing Council

The Governing Council of Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) is the face of courage and devotion to human rights protection. Each one of the members of the GC is a human rights luminary. AFLA’s impressive accomplishments have been guided by this illustrous body. It has given AFLA intellectual direction and international visibility.

PROFESSOR SHADRACK GUTTO (KENYA/SOUTH AFRICA) – Chair 


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Prof. Gutto is currently a Professor and Chair of African Renaissance Studies & Director of the postgraduate Centre for African Renaissance Studies, University of South Africa (UNISA). He is also Professor Extraordinaire at the Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology since 2008 and Non-Executive Chairperson at Maluleke Seriti Makume Matlala (Attorneys) Inc since 2007. He is a member of UNISA Senate, Senate Executive Committee, and deputy chair of Senate Publications Committee; Academic planner and coordinator of the Government of South Africa-UNISA-Government of Southern Sudan human capacity and institutions’ building project (2004-2011).

More About Prof. Gutto

Prof. Gutto obtained an LL.B. (hons) from the University of Nairobi in 1975, a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, U.S.A in 1978, a post-graduate Diploma in International and Comparative Law of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France (1978). He was a Senior Teaching and Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology of Law, Lund University from 1989 to March 1994; meanwhile he completed a doctorate in sociology of human rights law in 1993.

In 1982, during the Kenyan Government’s crackdown on critical academics, was forced into exile and lived in Graz, Austria and London, the U.K. He was a Lecturer and Research Fellow, Faculty of Law and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi, Lecturer at the Law Faculty, University of Zimbabwe, and founding editor of the Zimbabwe Law Review. Declared a persona non grata for unspecified “national security” grounds in 1988. Granted Convention refugee status in Sweden in 1989.

Prof. Gutto was an Associate Professor, Law Faculty and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand from April 1994; Deputy Director (1995-1998) and Acting Director (2000-2001). He headed the Land Rights Research Programme and lectured in Public International Law, Human Rights, Property Law and Land Reform, Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence. Supervised masters and doctoral students. Was Co-Chairperson of Wits University Transformation/Institutional Forum 1996-2000.

 

DR. EDWARD KWAKWA (GHANA) – Treasurer 

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Dr. Edward Kwakwa is a Legal Counsel at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. Kwakwa holds an LL.B degree from the University of Ghana, an LL.M. from Queen’s University in Canada, and an LL.M. and a J.S.D. from Yale University in the U.S.A.

Before joining WIPO, Kwakwa practiced corporate and international trade law and investment with the law firm of O’Melveny and Myers in Washington, D.C., worked as International Legal Adviser at the Commission on Global Governance in Geneva, as Senior Legal Adviser at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and as Legal Affairs Officer at the World Trade Organization. His publications include two books and numerous articles on international law.

He is currently serving as Vice-President of the African Foundation for International Law, and served from 2001 to 2004 on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. He has been an Adjunct/Visiting Professor of Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the University of Denver College of Law, the International Law Institute in Uganda, and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he was recently appointed Extraordinary Professor in Law.

MIRJAM BLAAK (UGANDA) 

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Mirjam Blaak is Uganda’s Ambassador to the Benelux and the European Union. She holds a L.L.M. in Dutch law with a specialisation in international law from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She is certified as Professional Legal Mediator and Justice Rapid Response expert.

Highlights of Blaak’s accomplishments include working as a member of team of experts revising the Model Law for implementing legislation of the ICC Statute, initiating and organizing the first ICC Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda, acting as facilitator for the Hague Working Group on geographical representation and gender balance in the recruitment of the ICC staff, and serving as the Executive Director of the Executive Board  of the Common Fund for Commodities, representing six countries in East and Southern Africa.

Prior to her current position, Blaak worked as financial advisor to Drillcon, a Danish company based in Kampala, as the Executive Director of Schnyder International and Schnyder Company, a legal, marketing, and management consultancy firm operating in East Africa, as Country Representative for the Netherlands Management Cooperation Programme (PUM) in Uganda, and as Legal/Associate Protection Officer with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Nairobi, Kenya.

BAHAME TOM NYANDUGA (TANZANIA) 

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Bahame Tom Nyanduga is currently the Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance.  Mr. Nyanduga worked for the Tanzanian Government in the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs between 1978-1994, and then joined legal practice in 1995. In 2000 he served as President of the Law Society of Tanzania.  From 2004-2006 he was President of the East African Law Society. Mr. Nyanduga served as a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Banjul, the Gambia, from 2003 to 2009. He is currently serving as the United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Somalia, having been appointed by the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2014.

Mr. Nyanduga has litigated at national, regional and international tribunals, including the East African Court of Justice, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. As well, he’s been a member of an arbitral tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

He graduated from the University of Dar es salaam in 1977; holds a Post Graduate Diploma in International Law from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 1981; an L.L.M from the London School of Economics, 1987; and attended The Hague Academy of International law, 1993.

MORAY HATHORN (SOUTH AFRICA)

Moray Hathorn is a partner in the Pro Bono Practice within the Dispute Resolution Business Unit at Webber Wentzel. He is an expert in dealing with civil and socio-economic rights issues. He has extensive experience in land reform practice, the law relating to traditional authorities, the right to housing and gender equality and assisting non-profit organisations.

Hathorn’s expertise extends to administrative and constitutional law. He has been involved in litigation in the Magistrate’s Courts, the Labour Court and Land Claims Court, the High Court and Constitutional Court and in negotiations with government at municipal, provincial and central level, as well as at ministerial level. In matters of international criminal justice, he has been involved in the Al-Bashir appeal case in South Africa. He has also participated in the formulation and drafting of aspects of the new land reform legislation.

He spent 15 years working at the Legal Resource Centre dealing with various matters related to human rights and land reform. Hathorn is a notary public and conveyancer. He was also director of the Rural Housing Loan Fund from May 1998 to 2012 (a not-for-profit company, incorporated for the purpose of provision of wholesale finance to lenders for low-income rural housing). He is a director of the Treatment Action Campaign and a council member of Sedibeng College.

Hathorn has BA and LLB degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has various academic publications, and was a founding member of ProBono.org, the first public interest law clearing housing established in South Africa.

EVELYN A. ANKUMAH (GHANA/THE NETHERLANDS) – Executive Director


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An internationally recognized human rights lawyer with professional and academic expertise in Africa, Europe, and North America, Ankumah has distinguished herself by pioneering initiatives in human rights and international justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Africa Legal Aid (AFLA), an influential pan-African and international entity renowned for its convening power and its significant publications, as well as its work on progressive development of international justice by incorporating African and gender perspectives. Ankumah is credited for having developed AFLA into a leading voice in international justice. In 2014, she was chosen by U.K. based Power List Magazine as one of 25 Africans who have most significantly contributed to improving the African continent.

She is Editor of AFLA’s publications including four books and more than 40 journals on human rights and international criminal justice considered by academics and advocates to be important sources of information on human rights and legal developments relating to Africa. She authored the first monograph on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and has penned many articles in leading human rights and international law journals. Originally published in English, the monograph was later published in French and Arabic.

Ankumah is acknowledged for initiating debates, dialogue and advocacy on undertreated and emerging areas of human rights and international justice. In 2003 she convened the first conference to introduce the International Criminal Court (ICC) to human rights and justice sectors in Africa. In 2008, she initiated a gender justice campaign, thereby contributing to mainstreaming gender perspectives in human rights and international justice. She has launched an initiative to engage Africa’s youth in international justice. Ankumah is recognized for her advocacy for equitable geographical and gender balance in ICC leadership positions.

More About Evelyn A. Ankumah

PERSONAL INFORMATION

  • Nationality: Ghanaian
  • Dual Nationality with The Netherlands
  • Married to Professor A.P. van der Mei since 1992, with twin daughters.

LANGUAGES

  • Fanti – Fluent (Mother tongue).
  • Twi – Fluent (Father tongue).
  • Ga – Fluent
  • English – Fluent (Primary language).
  • Dutch – Advanced Level.
  • French – Intermediate level.

EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, Minnesota, USA Juris Doctor (JD) Was Admitted to the bar of the state and federal courts of Minnesota 1988

The International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France Diploma for Human Rights Lecturers 1990

Faculty of Law, Department of International and European Law, Maastricht University, The Netherlands Visiting Research Scholar and Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law 1990-1991, 1993-1995

Ramsey County District Court, St. Paul, Minnesota, Law Clerk, 1987-1989

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ RightsBanjul, The Gambia – During the formative years of the Commission, and as part of her research on the African human rights system at Maastricht University, she volunteered her services prior to each session and during the sessions of the Commission, to preliminarily assess complaints submitted by NGOs and individuals to the Commission, drawing on the jurisprudence of the United Nations, Inter-American and European human rights systems for the Commission. She Assisted the Commission in drafting Resolutions, Session Reports and communiqués. 1992-1995

Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Leiden, The Netherlands, International Arbitration Certificate. 2017

BOOKS

  • The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Practice and Procedures (1996, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers).
  • The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On (2016, Intersentia: in Cambridge, Portland and Antwerpen, (715 Pages).
  • African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice (co-editor 2005, Africa Legal Aid).
  • Litigating Economic and Social Rights in Africa (2004, Africa Legal Aid).
  • The Legal Profession and the Protection of Human Rights in Africa (co-editor 1999, Africa Legal Aid).

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AFRICA LEGAL AID (ACCRA, PRETORIA, THE HAGUE) 1995 – PRESENT

  • Submitted Complaints of Gross Human Rights Violations to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 
  • Counseled and addressed the European Parliament on ‘EU Support to the International Criminal Court from an African Perspective’. 
  • Monitored, Critiqued, and Supported the Work of the International Criminal Court. 
  • Initiator of ‘The Cairo-Arusha Principles on Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences: an African Perspective.’ 
  • Published four books on human rights and international criminal justice. 
  • Published more than 40 editions of the AFLA Quarterly Journal. 
  • Conceived and convened several experts’ meetings, capacity building trainings, seminars, and symposia for legal experts, the judiciary, legal fraternities, NGOs, diplomatic spheres, and officials of intergovernmental and governmental bodies, the most recent including:
      • Carrying Forward the Legacy of the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Habré Trial: an African Solution to an African Problem, Side Event of the 29th AU Summit, Addis Ababa, 2017, in cooperation with the African Union Commission. 
      • Incorporating the Innovations of the Extraordinary African Chambers into International Criminal Justice, The Hague, 2017, in cooperation with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.       
      • ICC Withdrawals: Is Africa Running Away from Justice? ASP Side Event, The Hague, 2016, in cooperation with Southern African Litigation Centre.
      • Carrying Forward the Innovations of the Extraordinary African Chambers for the Prosecution of Habré, ASP Side Event, The Hague, 2016, in cooperation with The Hague Institute for Global Justice.     
      • Complementarity, the Habré Trial and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction, Dakar, 2016, in cooperation with theBaltasar Garzon International Foundation and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
      • Engaging the Youth in International Justice, Johannesburg, 2016, in cooperation with the Division of Internationalisation of the University of Johannesburg.
      • Complementarity: Beyond ICC, ASP Side Event, The Hague, 2015, in cooperation with Southern Africa Litigation Centre.
      • Universalizing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Johannesburg, 2015
      • Africa and the International Criminal Court: Lessons Learned, Synergies Ahead, Johannesburg, 2014.
      • Cooperation, Defence Perspectives, and Clarifying the Immunity Debate, ASP Side Event, New York, 2014.
      • Africa and the ICC: One Decade On, Arusha, 2013.
      • Africa and the ICC: A Stakeholder’s Meeting on Unsettling and Emerging Issues, The Hague, 2013.
      • Africa and the International Criminal Court: Engaging Francophone and North African Countries, Tunis, 2013, in cooperation with the Arab Institute of Human Rights and Avocats sans Frontière Suisse.
      • Taking the Higher Ground in the Debate on the ICC and Africa, ASP Side Event, The Hague, 2013.
      • African Perspectives on Human Rights and Business, Johannesburg, 2012, in cooperation with Webber Wentzel Law Firm and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
      • Charles Taylor Verdict and Sentence: an Informal Appraisal, The Hague, 2012.
      • The ICC in a Politically Divided World, Gaborone, 2011, in cooperation with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Legal Assistance Consortium.
      • Human Rights are Good for Business, Pretoria, 2011, in cooperation with the Centre for African Renaissance Studies of the University of South Africa.
      • Africa and the First ICC Review Conference, Kampala, 2010.
      • The Al Bashir Arrest Warrant: The World vs. Africa or the African Union vs. the People of Africa, The Hague2010.
      • Commemorating International Women’s Day: the Ghana Domestic Violence Act, Accra, 2010.
      • Breaking the Silence: Commemorating International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women, The Hague, 2009.
      • A Holistic Approach to Gender Based Violence, Dakar, 2009, in cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
      • Gender Justice and the Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, The Hague, 2008, in cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice.
      • The Interface between Peace and International Criminal Justice in Africa, Accra, 2007, in cooperation with the International Criminal Court. 

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

Email: communications@africalegalaid.com


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