PHENOMENALLY PHENOMENAL WOMAN: THAT’S YOU
Commemorating International Women’s Day
Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) is a woman-initiated organisation which has consistently worked to promote gender equality and gender justice, incorporating gender perspectives in all its activities since its launch in 1995. AFLA’s founding director, Evelyn A. Ankumah, was inducted into the International Gender Champion (IGC) group in 2020, showcasing her long and committed effort to bring down gender barriers.
Women who participated in AFLA’s first conference: The Legal Profession and the Protection of Human Rights in Africa,1997.
Evelyn A. Ankumah, AFLA’s founding director.
Judge Navi Pillay, then President of the ICTR and Dr Ahmad Fathi Sorour, then Speaker of the People’s Assembly of Egypt. At AFLA’s Experts’ Meeting that prepared the Cairo Draft of the Cairo-Arusha Principles on Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences: An African Perspective, Cairo, 2001.
AFLA Builds Capacity of Victims to Meaningfully Engage with National, Regional and International Justice Mechanisms and Actors
Left, Ayesha Jammeh, niece of Yahya Jammeh. Ayesha’s father was killed by his own brother, Yahya Jammeh. Right, Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of slain Gambian activist Solo Sandeng.
Toufah Jallow, the first woman in The Gambia to make a public accusation of rape against Jammeh, addresses the ASP plenary on AFLA’s platform.
Representation Does Matter
Jennifer Naouri, co-counsel for Laurent Gbagbo, speaking at AFLA’s Symposium on Lessons from the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé Case & ICC Review. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were acquitted of all charges by both the ICC Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber. And speaking of representation, in 2021, Naouri was elected President of the ICC Bar Association, the first woman to be elected to the office.
Gender-Sensitive Judging in International Criminal Courts
In November 2020, AFLA launched its project on Gender-Sensitive Judging in International Criminal Courts with a focus on the ICC. The project aims to strengthen both male and female judges, however, the initial meetings have targeted female judges. Six meetings have been held to date. Participants of the series include:
From top left, Judge Florence Mumba, Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC); Evelyn A. Ankumah, coordinator of the project, AFLA; Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou, ICC; Judge Kimberly Prost, ICC; Judge Solomy Bossa, ICC Appeals Chamber; Judge Julia Sebutinde, International Court of Justice (ICJ); Judge Luz Ibáñez Carranza, ICC Appeals Chamber and First Vice President; Gabrielle McIntyre, co-coordinator of the project, chairperson, Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission of the Seychelles, and chairperson, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice; Judge Fatoumata Dembélé Diarra, former judge and First Vice President, ICC; and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera, ICC.
From left, Judge Miatta Maria Samba, ICC (PhotoCredit: The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria); Judge Joanna Korner, ICC (PhotoCredit: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk); and Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor, ICC (PhotoCredit: Diplomat Magazine).
Experts and resource persons in the series held to date: from top left, Melinda Reed, Executive Director of Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice presented on Gender Issues Concerning Approaches to Female Witnesses during the third meeting; Alka Pradhan, Human Rights Counsel, Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions, Melinda Taylor, Lead Defence Counsel before The ICC, and Sarah Bafadhel, International Human Rights Lawyer, 9 Bedford Row, each presented on Gender Issues Concerning Approaches to Female Counsels at the fourth meeting; and Dr Rosemary Grey.
Launch of AFLA Book 4: The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On
International criminal law expert Lorraine Smith-van Lin takes the floor. She is the director of SmithvanLin Consultancy and Founder of Tallawah Justice for Women.
Judge Christine van den Wyngaert and Shamila Batohi. Ms Bothi served as senior legal advisor to the prosecutor of the ICC until 2018, when she was appointed national director of public prosecutions of South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa. She assumed office on 1 February 2019.
Judge Sanji Monageng launches AFLA book 4, The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On.
Complementarity, the Habré Trial, and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction
AFLA convened a seminar to coincide with the first universal jurisdiction trial on African soil. African civil societies, legal fraternities and leading academics were in attendance. We were present in the Dakar courtroom when judgement was handed down.
Mbacke Fall, Chief Prosecutor in the Habré trial, and Legal Advisor Chloé Gaden-Gistucci participate in the AFLA seminar held immediately after the Habré judgement.
Evelyn A. Ankumah and Jacqueline Moudeina, Counsel for Habré’s victims at AFLA’s Seminar on Complementarity, the Habré Trial and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction, Dakar, 2016.
Baltasar Garzón, the former Spanish judge whose indictment of former President Pinochet of Chile triggered contemporary discussions on universal jurisdiction and Evelyn A. Ankumah, leaving the courtroom after the Habré judgement, Dakar, 30 May 2016.
A full house at AFLA’s Seminar on Complementarity, the Habré Trial, and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction, Dakar, 2016.
Consultations with Stakeholders
Dr Carla Ferstman and Justice Elizabeth Nahamya at AFLA’s conference on Justice Done at Home or as Close as Possible to Home, Kampala, 2018.
Amb Mirjam Blaak-Sow, Uganda’s Ambassador to the EU and the Benelux with Justice Richard Goldstone at AFLA Symposium on Universalising the Rome Statute of the ICC, Johannesburg, 2015.
Bringing Three Decades of Human Rights Work on Gender Inequality and Gender-based Violence to the Mainstream
AFLA’s Evelyn A. Ankumah is also an author writing under the pseudonym Ewurabena. She has created the Hague Girls series, telling untold stories of intersectional discrimination in a globalised world. The first in the series is her story Hague Girls Part One: Fleeing