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
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
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
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)
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)
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
In 2014, Evelyn Ankumah was chosen by U.K.-based Power List Magazine as one of 25 Africans who have most significantly contributed to changing the African continent for the better. Ankumah is the Founding Executive Director of Africa Legal Aid (AFLA), an international non-governmental organisation she established in 1995. As a lawyer with professional and academic experience in North America, Europe, and Africa, she brings a unique international perspective to her work. Under Ankumah’s direction, AFLA has spearheaded contribution of much needed African perspectives to the evolving regime of international justice, and has developed AFLA into a leading voice in human rights and international justice. She is the editor of AFLA’s publications, an important source of information on human rights and legal developments relating to Africa. In 1996, she published the first book on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and is one of the most frequently quoted authors on the African human rights system.
More About Evelyn Ankumah
Ankumah made a move to academia when, in 1990, she accepted a position as a Visiting Research Scholar at the Department of International Law, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, in The Netherlands. She conducted pioneering research on the newly created African human rights regime and lent her academic services to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia. At Maastricht University, she taught international law, human rights law, and European Union Law.
In 1993, she obtained a grant to write the first monograph on the African Commission, a task she completed in 1995. Originally published in English by Kluwer Law International, the book has since been published in French and Arabic. Even though the book was published almost two decades ago, it is still one of the most frequently cited works on the African human rights system.
In 1995, Ankumah materialized her dream of establishing an organisation dedicated to the rights and interests of Africa and African people: Africa Legal Aid. The organisation first focused its activities on the African human rights regime, and since the early 2000s, it included international criminal justice in the scope of its activities. It is of historical importance to note that under Ankumah’s leadership, the Cairo-Arusha Principles on Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences: an African Perspective were adopted. The Principles enjoy international recognition and have been coined “the voice of Africa on international criminal justice”. The Principles were cited in the Arrest Warrant Case between the DRC and Belgium before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2001. In 2011, when the European Parliament needed advise on EU support to the International Criminal Court (ICC) from an African Perspective, it was to Ankumah that they turned.
As Executive Director of AFLA, Ankumah has established an extensive and loyal network of relevant stakeholders, including the ICC and the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the ICC, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and the newly established UN Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic. The list includes African governments, the diplomatic community, legal fraternities, NGOs and civil society organisations, and human rights and justice sectors across Africa, and in the international community. All this has been accomplished while protecting AFLA’s independence, which is crucial to the organisation’s legitimacy. By combining her diplomatic skills with a strong sense of independence, Ankumah has managed to establish an impressive network of relevant stakeholders in Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arab states in Africa, which has greatly contributed to AFLA’s success.
Under Ankumah’s leadership, AFLA has convened more than 40 conferences, expert meetings, and capacity building trainings all over Africa and in the international legal capital of The Hague. The Meetings had a common overarching theme of developing much needed African perspectives on international human rights and criminal law.
Ankumah is Founding Editor of AFLA’s “flagship” journal, the AFLA Quarterly, with more than 40 issues to date and AFLA’s Book Series with four volumes to date. These include Africa and the ICC: One Decade On (September 2016) (Intersentia Publishers; with a Foreword by Ben Ferencz, last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, and a Preface by Navi Pillay, Immediate Past UN High Commissioner for Human Rights); African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice (2006) (with a Preface by Luis Moreno Ocampo, first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court); Litigating Economic and Social Rights in Africa (1999); and The Legal Profession and the Protection of Human Rights in Africa (1997).