Centres

IFAT 2020: Alumni Special Project – Calls for alumni are out now!

If you are Alumni from developing countries (DAC country nationals) with a proven background in water resources management, water use efficiency, water reuse, water and waste water treatment, waste removal and recycling, sanitation, water distribution systems, measurement and control mechanisms for water quality and pollution, soil remediation, environmental engineering, environment technology, and related fields of work.

APPLY NOW for the DAAD Alumni Special Project (training seminar and trade fair visit) in the framework of

IFAT 2020

The World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

The training seminars (phase 1) will take place from 26 April – 3 May 2020. They are organized by three different German universities, each of which has its own focus for the seminar: University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Siegen and University of Applied Sciences Trier.
The seminars are followed by the visit of IFAT 2020 in Munich, Germany, from 4 – 9 May 2020 (phase 2), organized by the DAAD.

The calls for application are out now!
Single application deadline: 15 January 2020

Please address your application directly to the contact named in the announcements which are available on our website.

CEGLA – International Conference in Niamey on the Local Civil Service

The Centre of Excellence for Local Governance CEGLA hold a highly relevant International Conference on the Local Civil Service from 27 to 29 November 2019 in Niamey/Niger.

The conference was opened by the Nigerian Minister of Interior, Mr. Bazoum Mohamed, the German Ambassador in Niger, Mr. Hermann Nicolai, the Director of the National School of Administration, the Rector of the University Abdou Moumouni as well as the Head of Division Development Cooperation and Transregional Programmes of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Stefan Bienefeld.

During the three days of conference, the participants were discussing about crucial issues in the administration of local authorities. Experts, coming from various states of Western Africa, e.g. from Niger, Senegal, Mali and Burkina-Faso, carried out short presentations about the current legal and practical situation as well as the main challanges of local authorities in the different states of Western Africa. The main focus of the substantial discussions and debates concentrated on the state of local civil service in Western Africa, the fincancial situation as well as the recruitment and human ressources on local level.
The debates during these sessions led to very rich results on the different questions ending up by making the conference a place for an exchange of ideas and practices as well as for critical analysis of all the practices and different subjects.

The best articles of experts as well as the main results of the conference will be compiled in a comprehensive publication, which will be published by CEGLA next year.

The conference was closed with the words of thanks from the organizing committee for all the teams, the various organizations and participants who contributed to the success of this fruitfull conference.

Alumni-Conference: “Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa” 20th – 24th November 2019 Berlin, Germany

The African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice (“Network”) held its first annual conference on “Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa” between 20th and 24th November 2019 in Berlin at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The Network was established after the 10-year-funding period for the South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice (“Centre”), which was supported by DAAD and offered an LL.M.- and PhD-Programme, has ended in 2018. It aims to provide the very successful Alumni of the Centre with the basis and the resources to further their academic and personal exchange. The Network is directed by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Werle at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and supported by DAAD and the German Federal Foreign Office.

In addressing legacies of gross human rights violations, Transitional Justice is usually considered as instrumental in establishing, amongst others, the rule of law, reconciliation, and democracy. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the approaches used over the last decades evince a lot of diversity, in the wake of many countries in the region recovering from protracted conflict or dictatorial regimes. Recent developments in countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, or Zimbabwe once more highlight the relevance of the field. While Transitional Justice mechanisms have to be tailored to meet the requirements of the specific situation, analyzing and comparing different approaches can provide valuable insights that can be used to develop best practices and improve the implementation of Transitional Justice.

For more information about the African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice visit transcrim.org.

 

Start of the third CABLES Training for Centres of African Excellene in Accra

The third offering of CERM-ESA’s Capacity Building Programme for Lecturers and Supervisors (CABLES) has kicked-off successfully in Accra this morning. A group of 25 participants representing the
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Governance for Sustainable and Integrative Local Development
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rural Transformation
Congolese-German Centre of Excellence for Microfinance
Ghanaian-German Centre of Excellence for Development Studies and the
– Namibian-German Centre of Excellence for Logistics

are engaging in questions of postgraduate supervision, curriculum development and interpersonal competencies for excellent teaching. The week-long professional development programme is the last in a row of three international and cross-disciplinary CABLES offerings that DAAD  has sponsored for those lecturers, researchers and supervisors, who contribute to the success of the Centres of African Excellence.

Participants and facilitators of the CABLES@WA2019

United States Visa Applications, Global Magnisky Act & Social Media Montioring in Uganda

United States Visa Applications , Global Magnisky Act and Social Media Monitoring in Uganda

 

By Samuel Matsiko

On 27th August 2019,Ismail Ajjawi a  palestinian student admitted to Harvard University was detained at Boston International Airport, denied entry into the United States and his visa was cancelled. According to a statement issued to the Harvard Crimson by Ismail Ajjawi the immigration officers deported him after they disapproved of his friends political comments on social media. 

In the past few days, several ugandan officials including the  permanent secretary to the judiciary Pius Bigirimana, deputy secretary general of the ruling National Resistance Movement party Richard Twondongo, National Resistance Movement deputy treasurer Keneth Omona, Spokesperson of the National Resistance Movement secretariat Rogers Mulindwwa, Army  General Peter Elewulu and assistant inspector of police Asuman Mugenyi were denied US visas on allegations of corruption and human rights violations.  

This comes weeks after the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the former inspector general of  the Uganda police force General Kale Kayihura under the Global Magnitsky Act.The Department also publicly designated his spouse, Angela Umurisa Gabuka, his daughter, Tesi Uwibambe, and his son, Kale Rudahigwa.

However, we need to look way beyond the allegations of corruption and human rights violations and look at the digital footprint of these individuals and their affiliates. What social media data did some of these individual submit during their visa applications? What is their social media inventory including that of their affiliates and superiors for the last five years?  How is social media monitoring shaping domestic and foreign policy? Why we need to pay attention to social media monitoring by Governments.

The United States  federal government agencies in particular the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection Agency have expanded their social media monitoring programs. At the beginning of June 2019 the United States State Department issued a social media policy for all visa applications. The policy requires all visa applicants to submit social media accounts they have used in the last five years including emails and accounts with end to end encrypted messaging applications like whatsapp and telegram.

Such social media account information would give the United States government access to photos, locations, dates of birth,  IP addresses, religious opinions, political opinions and other personal data commonly shared on social media. This would probably make the United States the social media data capital of the world considering the millions of  annual United States visa application

The United States  Customs and Border Protection Agency uses social media monitoring  software. The most notable software is dunami a product of a silicon valley  company PATHAR linked to a CIA venture capital firm called In-Q-Tel. These digital tools were initially designed to determine networks of association and the potential of radicalisation on the war on terror. However the tools can also be  used to collect data points on individuals for foreign policy interests . 

American soft power is declining in a world where the global agenda is shaped by twitter feeds. Two years ago,President Donald Trump’s  budget director, Mick Mulvaney, proclaimed a hard power budget that would have slashed funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Uganda is beginning to experience this american foreign policy hard power through the Global Magnisky Act.  The United States to deny several senior  ugandan government officials visas after years of mutual  coperation is totally unprecedented. I may not have evidence to substantiate my arguments but the United States must have collected a treasure trove of data points on these individuals and their affiliates to have an evidence based reason to deny them visas.

Uganda with a social media tax regime is a very unique country when it comes to social media. Interesting social media cases include but not limited to city lawyer Fred Muwema v Facebook, Havard Student Hillary Seguya’s suit against  President Yoweri Museveni for blocking him on twitter and Dr. Stella Nyanzi’s conviction for cyber harassment. 

This year the  Uganda Communications Commission a regulatory body hired a social media monitoring personnel and issued a policy for social media influencers to register with the commission. A time has come for Ugandans and the world  to pay critical attention to their digital footprint. Social media is influencing domestic and foreign policy way beyond our likes and shares.

Samuel Matsiko is a lawyer and research fellow at the Amsterdam  Center for International Law

 

Coming soon: Network Meeting of the Centres of African Excellence 2019 in Dakar

10th Network Meeting of the Centres of African Excellence
Networks for Sustainable Impacts on African Development

from 18 to 21 September 2019
at Centre Africain d’Études Supérieures en Gestion (CESAG)
Dakar, Senegal

 

This year’s Annual Network Meeting is entitled “Networks for Sustainable Impacts on African Development” and shall reflect the importance of our internal and external networks to enhance capacities especially trough this networking, not only in higher education and research, but also with regards to policy advice, applied sciences and innovative technologies.
High ranked representatives from relevant sectors of politics, science and public will be invited to the meeting, to provide a platform for discussions and strengthening ties among the network. With a view to international cooperation activities in higher education and research, we also seek to create links with corresponding stakeholders and to identify and maximize synergies. Moreover, we will further elaborate our strategies on how to benefit from recent developments in the context of digitalization, while considering local circumstances of sub Saharan African realities at the same time.

This year´s network meeting will kindly be hosted by the West-African-German Centre of Excellence for Local Governance in Africa (CEGLA). The official opening of CEGLA will be part of the Network Meeting. The inauguration ceremony will take place on 18th September 2019 and will be hosted by CESAG.

Appel à candidature pour les bourses de recherche doctorale du CEGLA au Niger et au Mali

Le programme Africain Excellence du DAAD à travers le Centre d’Excellence de Gouvernance Locale en Afrique (CEGLA) finance 4 bourses de doctorat pour des chercheurs souhaitant mener des recherches sur les questions relatives à la décentralisation ou à la gouvernance locale dans les universités suivantes :

  • Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako (2 bourses dont 1 pour un(e) malien(ne) et 1 pour un(e) ressortissant(e) d’un autre pays africain) ;
  • Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (2 bourses dont 1 pour un(e) nigérien(ne) et 1 pour un(e) ressortissant(e) d’un autre pays africain).
La date limite d’introduction des candidatures est fixée au 15 septembre 2019.
Pour plus de détails, veuillez consulter l’appel à candidature.

Academic Persecution: Independent International Crime or Subject to a Connection Requirement?

Academic Persecution: Independent International Crime or Subject to a Connection Requirement?

Around the world today, Turkey, Hungary , China, Syria, Iran & Uganda, scholars  and academics are attacked because of their words,  ideas and their place in society. Those seeking power and control work to limit access to information and new ideas by targeting scholars, restricting academic freedom and repressing research, publication, teaching and learning.

Scholars ask difficult questions and that can be threatening to authorities whose power depends on controlling information and what people think. When academics are silenced or subjected to self censorship their communities are disadvantaged. Every year thousands of academics across the world are harassed, censored tortured and killed. The persecution of academics has occurred repeatedly in the course of human civilization. Notable examples are the migration of the Greek scholars from Constantinople to Italy, the expulsion of the Huguenots from France , the intelligenzaktion of scientists and academics in occupied Poland and the arrest of Sudanese  biology Professor Farouk Mohammed for teaching evolution.

On 2nd June 2019, I submitted an Article 15 communication to the Office of the Prosecutor(OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The communication calls upon the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination on persecution as a crime against humanity committed against scholars and academics in Uganda. However, the purpose of this article is not to discuss the merits of the communication but rather to moot the conversation on academic persecution and its place in international criminal law as an independent crime. Is persecution an independent international crime or does it require a connection element?

Article 7(1)(h) of ICC Statute ,Connection Requirement and Ambiguities

The crime of persecution has always been subject to debate and raises fundamental questions.

Is persecution an independent international crime ?

Does the crime of persecution require a connection element?

Article 7 of the ICC Statute in the verbatim states that a crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population,with knowledge of the attack The ICC statute further describes the crime of persecution in (Article7(1)h) :Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court. The statute goes on to  provide that for the purposes of the above : Persecution means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.

The ICC elements of crime provides the following  constitutive elements for the crime of persecution including the mental element as follows:

  • The perpetrator severely deprived, contrary to international law, one or more persons of fundamental rights.

  • The perpetrator targeted such person or persons by reason of the identity of a group or collectivity or targeted the group or collectivity as such.

  • Such targeting was based on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in article 7, paragraph 3, of the Statute, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law.

  • The conduct was committed in CONNECTION with any act referred to in article 7, paragraph 1, of the Statute or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia(ICTY) has a measurable body of  jurisprudence when it comes to the international crime of persecution. For example, out of the ninety (90) who to date have been convicted by the ICTY, forty(40) had been charged with the crime of persecution. It is important to note that the crime of persecution was hardly applied in international or national law before the start of the ICTY proceedings. The ICTY case law dealing with the crime of persecution is one of the most important contributions of the ICTY to international criminal law. This body of jurisprudence clearly rejects that the crime of persecution needs to be subject to a connection requirement. The (ICTY), in the Kupreškič case, affirmed that:The Trial Chamber rejects the notion that persecution must be linked to crimes found elsewhere in the Statute of the International Tribunal.

The other dilemma that has emerged is the problematic formulation by the International Law Commission (ILC) work on the proposed crimes against humanity convention. The ILC formulation provides for a rather troubling connection requirement for the crime of persecution with specificity to geneocide and war crimes. Article 3(1)(h) of the Draft ILC Articles reads as follows: Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or in connection with the crime of genocide or war crimes. The chairman of the ILC drafting committee Mr. Mathias Forteau stated in his report that the act of persecution defined in sub-paragraph (h) refers to any act “in connection with the crime of genocide or war crimes” while the ICC Statute refers to “any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court”.

I do argue that the use of the terms “in connection with” is vague, problematic and susceptible to many interpretations and misinterpretations. In sum these ambiguities trigger the need to moot a conversation on the international crime of persecution especially the persecution of scholars and academics and its place in international criminal law. Is it an independent international crime without a nexus to other crimes?If i  were to give the text of the statute its ordinary meaning or interpretation, persecution as a crime against humanity is an independent international crime without the need for a connection requirement. To my knowledge the connection requirement has no basis in international law and was merely a juridictional filter by the drafters of the text.

Scholars like Professor Gerhard Werle in the second edition of his book principles of international criminal law explained that “The requirement of a connection was intended to take account of the concerns about the breadth of the crime of persecution. With this accessorial design, the ICC Statute lags behind customary international law, since the crime of persecution, like crimes against humanity, has developed into an independent crime

Academics and scholars do belong to an identifiable group or collectively because of their scholarship. Perpetrators especially repressive and dictatorial regimes target such person or persons by reason of their identity as a group. The perpetrators often severely deprive, contrary to international law, one or more persons of fundamental rights. It is important to note that the crime of persecution as a crime against humanity is not about numbers, the text of the elements of crimes uses the wordperson or persons”. In Turkey as of 2016 approximately 23,400 academics were persecuted by the Turkish authorities. In Uganda as of December 2018 Dr. Stella Nyanzi was arrested and 45 academics at Makerere university were sacked without due process. The appaling  emergence of  academic perseuction across the globe needs to be viewed from an international criminal justice persective.

In sum the travaux preparatoires among government delegates during the negotiations of the ICC Statute clearly illustrates that the connection requirement was simply a compromise clause and merely a jurisdictional filter. I do believe that the requirement of a connection to other crimes was simply used as jurisdictional filter considering the scope of persecution as an international crime. The unsettled field of international criminal law often tends to create new constituencies that ought to be subjected to further academic interrogation. The need to moot a conversation on academic persecution as an international crime  is not only neccesary it is timely.

Samuel Matsiko is a research fellow at the Amsterdam Center for War Reparations.He is also an early-career investigator  with the EU Cost ActionJustice360– Global Atrocity Justice Constellations”  .

Email:  matsikosam@gmail.com