Legal Issues in the Republic of South Africa

“Legal Issues in the Republic of South Africa” is a Web site of 59 short articles written by H.C.J. van Rensburg on various aspects of South African law. Topics include criminal law, evidence, animal law, business organizations, labor law, and consumer law. Free registration is required.


Tahrir Documents Project (Egypt)

Tahrir Documents

The Project as described by the editors and staff of Tahrir Documents:

We are pleased to announce the launch of Tahrir Documents, an ongoing project to archive and translate printed discourse from the 2011Egyptian revolution and its aftermath. The website presents a diverse collection of materials — among them activist newspapers, personal essays, advertisements, missives, and party communications —- incomplete English translation alongside reproductions of the Arabic-language originals. The site will be updated regularly, frequently, and indefinitely as new writings appear in response to post-revolution developments, and as we locate earlier materials. The assembled documents address a variety of contemporary concerns including Muslim-Christian relations, constitutional amendments, moral conduct, revolutionary strategy, and the women’s rights movement. Some of the highlights of the collection:


* A defense of protestors’ continued sit-in at Tahrir Squarereleased on March 9th, the same day on which their encampment wasdestroyed by thugs

* Guidelines for personal behavior after the revolution

* Numerous denunciations of sectarian violence

* The announcement of new political parties and presidential candidates.

* Numerous articles debating the constitutional amendments passedlast week

* Selections from Gurnal and Revolutionary Egypt, activistnewspapers founded after the revolution


We invite you to examine the website, and to return regularly as we post communications and commentaries from the post-Mubarak era. We believe the archive indicative of the diversity of political thought and action in contemporary Egypt, and hope that this diversity is ofinterest to anyone following the country’s transforming situation. The archive is searchable. Tahrir Documents is the work of volunteer translators in Egypt and abroad. It is not affiliated with any of those authors or groups whose works appear in translation on the website, nor with any organization foreign or domestic.


For more information please write to the editorial board at


We invite the submission of materials for translation and publication on the website.



Bringing Fairness to International Justice: a Handbook on the International Criminal Court for Defense Lawyers in Africa

Bringing Fairness to International Justice: a Handbook on the International Criminal Court for Defense Lawyers in Africa

Jolyon Ford

Pretoria (Tshwane),: Institute for Security Studies, 2009

From the Introduction:

Consider the following six brief and related statements:


1. Impunity and inaction in response to the most serious crimes of concern to the

international community represent a failure to meet human rights principles,

to respect victims, and to deal with issues affecting future peace.


2.A global consensus exists on the need to provide an acceptable, principled

international criminal justice system as a means to deal with perpetrators of

international crimes: that consensus is reflected in the Rome Statute of the



3.The ICC is only likely to be perceived as just, effective, legitimate and

sustainable to the extent that it is fair in its treatment of those brought before



4. Representation by a competent independent legal defence counsel is, in turn,

considered indispensible to fair investigations and trials in the ICC and other

international criminal tribunals.


5.The role of the defence lawyer in ensuring systematic fairness in international

justice deserves more attention generally.


6.There is, in particular, an ongoing need for more awareness raising and

capacity building in order to enable African lawyers to engage in the work of

the ICC in general and in Africa, including by acting as defence counsel or



This handbook explores some of the issues raised in these statements with a view

to increasing African lawyers’ understanding of, and engagement, with the ICC

and its processes and in particular the role of defence counsel, in order to help

bring fairness to international justice.


Francophone African Legal Links

The following article offers dozens of links to online legislation and case law from francophone African countries, as well as a discussion of the state of free online legal resources in Africa.

Text is in French.

Les Expériences Africaines de la Diffusion Libre du Droit Sur Le Web: bilan et perspective

Revue Juridique et Politique 2009 #3. pp.638-652.

Amavi Tagodoe and El Hadji Malick Ndiaye

Online Book: Children’s Rights in Namibia

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has posted online the full-text of the following book:

Children’s Rights in Namibia

edited by Oliver C. Ruppel

Windhoek: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 2009


Table of Contents:

Contents i
Anton Bösl
Acknowledgements v
List of Contributors vii
List of Abbreviations xvi
Oliver C Ruppel
The protection of children’s rights in Namibia: Law and policy
Lotta N Ambunda and Willard T Mugadza
The protection of children’s rights under international law from a Namibian perspective
Oliver C Ruppel
A major decision: Considering the age of majority in Namibia
Rachel Coomer and Dianne Hubbard
Work in progress: The Child Care and Protection Act in Namibia
Lena N Kangandjela and Clever Mapaure
The best interest of the child
Yvonne Dausab
Children’s right to citizenship
Faith Chipepera and Katharina G Ruppel-Schlichting
Custody and guardianship of children
Felicity !Owoses-/Goagoses
Adoption: Statutory and customary law aspects from a Namibian perspective
Oliver C Ruppel and Pombili L Shipila
Child labour: A universal problem from a Namibian perspective
Clever Mapaure
Realising the right to education for all: School policy on learner pregnancy in Namibia
Dianne Hubbard
Customary practices and children with albinism in Namibia: A constitutional challenge?
Ruusa N Ntinda
Children in polygynous marriages from a customary perspective
Prisca N Anyolo
“A man is not a man unless …”: Male circumcision – A legal problem?
Manfred O Hinz and Moudi Hangula
Restorative justice: The case for a Child Justice Act
Stefan Schulz
High Court of Namibia Vulnerable Witnesses’ Project
Annel M Silungwe
Child suggestibility in the Namibian justice system
Joab T Mudzanapabwe
Understanding the perpetrators of violent crimes against children
Veronica C de Klerk
Access to information by orphans and other vulnerable children in the Ohangwena Region
Chiku Mchombu
Child trafficking, child prostitution and the potential dangers of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa
Michael Conteh
The Ombudsman for Children in Poland: A model for Namibia?
Agata Rogalska-Piechota
Accessibility of social assistance benefits in indigenous African communities from a South African perspective
Gugulethu Nkosi
In search of a focus: Methodological provocations in the quest for the recognition and implementation of children’s rights and legal entitlements
Julie Stewart

Online Book:The Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice in Africa

The Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice in Africa


Etannibi E. O. Alemika,  Richard Bowd, Simon Robins,  J. Nnamdi Aduba, Emily I Alemika, Irvin Kinnes, Annie Barbara Chikwanha

Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 2009.


Chapter 1

Criminal justice in Africa

Chapter 2

Criminal Justice Norms, politics, institutions, processes and constraints

Chapter 3

Status quo or traditional resurgence

Chapter 4

Restorative approaches to criminal justice in Africa: Case of Uganda

Chapter 5

Bail and Criminal Justice Administration in Nigeria

SSRN: Judgment in the First Case Before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Available on SSRN:

Judgment in the First Case Before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: A Missed Opportunity or Mockery of International Law in Africa?

Chacha Bhoke Murungu

Full-text of the court’s decision can be found at the Minnesota Human Rights Library: In the Matter of Michelot Yogogombaye v. Republic of Senegal.


Article Abstract:     
On 15 December 2009 the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the African Human Rights Court, or ‘the court’) sitting in Arusha, Tanzania delivered its first ever judgment. The purpose of this article is to reflect and comment on several issues and principles found in this first ever case to be filed before the court. In the course of discussion, the article will present the conclusion reached by the court and the Separate Opinion of Judge Fatsah Ouguergouz. At first, a discussion is on the arguments raised by the applicant, Mr Michelot Yogogombaye against Senegal in respect of the on-going legal proceedings instituted in Senegal against Hissene Habre, former President of Chad, charging him with crimes against humanity, particularly torture committed in Chad between 1982 and December 1990. Then, a discussion is on Senegal’s preliminary objections to the application touching on the lack of jurisdiction by the court on the basis that Senegal has not made a declaration under article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol) allowing individuals to institute cases against it before the court.

Although the judgment of the court did not go into the merits of the case, this article discusses the implications that the judgment would have had on the developments of international law in Africa, had it gone into merits and substance of the case. It examines several key issues that had been raised by the applicant before the court. These include ‘functional immunity’ of former heads of state in relation to serious human rights violations as alluded to by the applicant; the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’; retroactivity of penal laws; status of a political asylee under the law on refugees; issues of access to the court by individuals under the concept of personal jurisdiction (jurisdiction ratione personae) as reflected in article 5(3) of the Protocol, and whether the court may ‘receive’ applications from individuals against a state which has not made an express declaration under article 34(6) of the Protocol. In this connection, the article follows the interpretation of the words ‘receive’ and shall’ as found in articles 5(3) and 34(6) of the Protocol, and offers its own interpretation of ‘individuals’ as used in the same provisions of the Protocol. Further, it examines the possibility of the court’s judgment to suspend the decision of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) mandating Senegal to try Hissene Habre. The article further examines whether the court had been seized with an opportunity to develop its own jurisprudence on international law in Africa, in line with the provisions of the Protocol.

In addition to the questions raised, the article also examines whether the applicant in the case had indeed understood some of the principles he contended that Senegal has violated in prosecuting Hissene Habre or his arguments are simply a mockery of international law and obligations of states in the prosecution and punishment of individuals who commit human rights violations.

To understand the context of the judgment of the court, it is necessary that the application and preliminary objections as well as statement of defense filed before the court be discussed as a whole. But, before attempting to discuss the judgment of the court, it is necessary to consider the pre-existing legal proceedings against Mr Hissene Habre and Senegal before different legal and judicial institutions in the world. These proceedings will inform the readers about the context within which the present judgment of the court came into being. For brevity reasons, it suffices to highlight here that Hissene Habre sits at the centre of various legal proceedings before national and international judicial bodies. The prior legal proceedings that had been instituted against Mr Hissene Habre in Senegal and Belgium, as well as against Senegal before the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are the ones that also have an impact on the first case before the African Human Rights Court. What follows below is now a discussion on the judgment in the first case before the African Human Rights Court and its

Sudan Laws Online

Sudan Laws Online is a database that offers a selection of  full-text Sudenese statutes. All documents and the search interface are in Arabic. The Web site also includes news and some commentary. The database has free materials and also subscription content.

Sudan Laws Online

To access the statutes click on

قوانين السودان.

Sample Laws available:

Criminal Code

Code of Civil Procedure

Code of Crminal Procedure

Civil Transactions Law

Evidence Act

 Labor Relations Act

African Peer Review Mechanism Report: Nigeria

African Peer Review Mechanism Country Review Report #8: Federal Republic of Nigeria

Additional country reports available at:

hat tip to Birgit Calhoun

Excerts from the foreword:

Six years ago, African Heads of State and Government came up with a jointly crafted and broadly supported agenda for advancing the basic values of democracy and good governance which together constitute the key requirements for the sustainable economic growth and development of their countries. The continental agenda, designated as the ‘African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)’, has grown from strength to strength.

This Report candidly elucidates the challenges Nigeria faces, including managing its diversity in nation-building, reducing the country’s over-dependence on oil and providing public services to its 140 million inhabitants. The Report also recognises the sound initiatives that have been taken with a view to addressing these challenges. Notably, the Federal Character principle and the Council of State initiative, which are enshrined in the country’s constitution, are already yielding tangible results in nation-building. Nigeria has also made commendable efforts in tackling corruption through the establishment of institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). The Report has highlighted the remarkable leadership shown by President Yar’Adua in not only adhering to the constitutional requirements to declare his assets and liabilities before the Code of Conduct Bureau, but also going beyond the call of duty and making his declaration public. It is hoped that this example will be emulated at all levels of the public service and among ordinary citizens, for the betterment of the country.

We are convinced that the APRM will play a significant role in promoting courageous reforms that are needed to bring about changes in the political and economic environments of our countries, and in the living conditions of our populations. It is gratifying to note that, to date, 29 members of the African Union are currently participating in the APRM.

Moroccan Family Code produced an English language translation of the Moroccan Family Code (Moudawana) of 2004.

This unofficial English translation of the 2004 Moroccan Family Law (Moudawana) was prepared by a team of English and Arabic speaking lawyers at the Global Rights head office in Washington D.C. and our field office in Rabat, and a professional Arabic-English Moroccan translator. Our intention was to produce an English language text that reproduces as faithfully as possible the original Arabic text, rather than to elaborate an autonomous English legal text. We have therefore privileged a literal translation rather than attempted to clarify, explain or interpret the intention of the legislator. Global Rights hopes that this translation will be useful to researchers, NGOs and public authorities interested in family law and the rights of women in Morocco.

hat tip to to Katie Zoglin.