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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 illustrious body. It has given AFLA intellectual direction and international visibility.

MORAY HATHORN (SOUTH AFRICA) – Chair

Moray Hathorn is a Consultant and Partner Emeritus, Pro Bono Unit, 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 the 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 a 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.

DR EDWARD KWAKWA (GHANA) – Treasurer 

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Dr Edward Kwakwa is Assistant Director General at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, where he has held the position of Senior Director at the Department of Traditional Knowledge and Legal Counsel. 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, Dr Kwakwa practised 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 Organisation.

MIRJAM BLAAK (UGANDA) 

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Mirjam Blaak is Uganda’s Ambassador to the Benelux and the European Union. She holds an LL.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 a team of experts revising the Model Law for implementing legislation of the ICC Statute, initiating and organising 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)

HON NYANDUGA (2)

Bahame Tom Nyanduga was the Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance from 2015-2017. He is a legal practitioner. 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 the national, regional and international tribunals, including the East African Court of Justice, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and 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 LL.M. from the London School of Economics, 1987; and attended The Hague Academy of International law, 1993.

EVELYN AMA ANKUMAH (GHANA/THE NETHERLANDS) – Executive Director


Evelyn Ama Ankumah is the founder and executive director of Africa Legal Aid (AFLA). She is a lawyer with practical and academic legal experience in Africa, Europe, and North America.

A specialist in human rights and international criminal justice, Ankumah has pioneered initiatives on marginalised and undertreated areas of rights and accountability, including a victim-centred and gender-sensitive approach to justice.

In 2014, she was selected by the U.K. based Power List Magazine as one of 25 Africans who have most significantly contributed to improving the African continent.

In 2020, Evelyn A. Ankumah was inducted into the International Gender Champion (IGC) network, showcasing her long and committed effort to bring down gender barriers.

Ankumah penned the first monograph on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Originally published in English by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers in 1996, the book was subsequently translated into French and Arabic.

Ankumah is editor of AFLA publications including four books on human rights and international justice, among them, The International Criminal Court and Africa: One Decade On.

She is an expert on the Rome Statute System and the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court (ICC). ICC Victims’ and Defence lawyers have credited Ankumah for having provided a voice, and platform for victims and defence counsels which, it is acknowledged, was the driving force behind the creation of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) in 2016.

Evelyn Ankumah is also an author writing under the pseudonym Ewurabena. She has created the Hague Girls series telling untold stories of multiple forms of discrimination in a globalised world. The first in the series is her own story, Hague Girls Part One: Fleeing published in November 2021.

Ankumah holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, and an Advanced Diploma for Human Rights Lecturers from the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France. Ankumah was Visiting Research Scholar at the Department of International and European Law, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, where she wrote the first book on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

PROFESSOR SHADRACK GUTTO (KENYA/SOUTH AFRICA) – Chair Emeritus


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Prof Gutto is Professor Emeritus of 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.

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