Call for Abstracts
Alumni-Conference: “Transnational Criminal Law in Africa: Legal and Institutional Frameworks and Challenges”
28th May, 4th June, 22nd October and 29th October 2021 via Zoom (online)
The African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice organizes its third annual research conference and invites abstracts on “Transnational Criminal Law in Africa: Legal and Institutional Frameworks and Challenges” from Alumnae and Alumni of the South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice.
Please find details in the Call for Applications.
Alumni-Conference: “International and Transnational Criminal Law in Africa: Practice, Challenges and Prospects” October and December 2020 Zoom (online)
The African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice has successfully organized its second annual research conference on “International and Transnational Criminal Law in Africa: Practice, Challenges and Prospects” from Alumni of the South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice in October and December 2020 via Zoom
The fruitful presentations and debates on the conference assessed the extent to which African states have implemented international and transnational criminal law through a critical examination of their legal frameworks, the nature and capacity of the legal enforcement and institutional frameworks adopted to criminalize, investigate and prosecute international crimes as well as the legal, institutional or practical challenges for effective implementation. Besides having a substantial majority of state parties to the International Criminal Court, African countries have established various ad hoc tribunals and adopted several legal and institutional frameworks at the regional and national levels as evidence of their stance against impunity for international crimes.
The African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice is proud to announce that the 33rd volume of the South African Journal of Criminal Justice including peer-reviewed papers from our Network’s inaugural annual conference from 20 to 24 November 2019 on “Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa“ has recently been published.
The South African Journal of Criminal Justice is an accredited, specialist legal journal publishing articles, comments, surveys of recent cases, and book reviews in the field of criminal justice, with a particular emphasis on southern Africa. The focus of the journal is on criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, international criminal law, and criminology. The Network’s director Prof. Dr. Gerhard Werle is part of the editorial board and the Network’s advisory board member Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kemp serves as editor. More information about the periodical can be found here.
Information on the Network and the table of contents of the third issue can be found here.
UWC Centres of Excellence training workshop on the new DigiFace digital teaching and learning platform
In the first week of December 2020, the two UWC DAAD Centres of Excellence – the South African-German Centre for Development Research SA-GER CDR and the South African German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice TRANSCRIM – took part in a training workshop on the use of the new DigiFace digital teaching and learning platform. Colleagues from Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, who are managing partners of the DigiFace project, organized and run the training workshop in a venue close to Cape Town.
DigiFace – short for “Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence” – is a new project funded by DAAD that aims at supporting and facilitating Higher Education learning and research at all DAAD African Centres of Excellence. The project is strengthening the Centres’ digital competencies as well as the networking among all the Centres – between all institutions involved, between staff, students, and alumni.
Core element of the DigiFace-initiative is the creation and establishment of a central interactive digital platform which is based on the Moodle learning management system. Participants in the training workshop started to develop course material and got a good understanding of both theoretical and practical knowledge required to make full use of the different tools and facilities of the platform. The workshop that way supported both Centres in offering course designs suitable for blended and hybrid learning, – both essential elements of the current and future learning environment at UWC. The two Centres, going forward, are joining forces to promote the use of the new platform in their respective institutes, and to collaborate more closely within the digital infrastructure that the new DigiFace project provides.
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. In their article, Nicksoni Filbert, researcher at the Network, and Nella Sayatz, project coordinator of the Network, give an overview about the presentations at the conference and summarize the main results of the conference’s discussions. Please find the report here.
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.
United States Foreign Policy , 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 friend’s 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 individuals 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 who commit gross human rights violations.
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 cooperation 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 and the Global Magnisky Act is influencing domestic and foreign policy way beyond our likes and shares.
Samuel Matsiko is a Ugandan lawyer and academic based in Amsterdam
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 word “person 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 Action“Justice360– Global Atrocity Justice Constellations” .
“African women need to be economically empowered!”
|Dr. Fatuma Mninde-Silungwe is a lawyer from Malawi and Alumna from the South African German Center for Transnational Criminal Justice. The interview took place during the 2nd DAAD Centers for African Excellence Alumni Conference in Akosombo, Ghana, where Fatuma held a presentation which was titled: Contributing to the Achievement of the SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and strong Institutions through Training in Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention in Africa.
She has done research in International Criminal Law and in Electoral Law. Her fields of interest include International Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, Elections, Human Rights and Good Governance. She currently works as a Legal Analyst on Elections with the United Nations Development Program in Malawi.
May you introduce yourself to the readers?
Dr. Silungwe: My name is Dr. Fatuma Silungwe. I am an Alumna of the South African – German Center for Transnational Criminal Justice.
What did you study?
Dr. Silungwe: I studied law at the University of Malawi. In my Masters level, I studied for an LL.M. and Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention which I completed in 2013 with a cum laude. During my LL.M studies, I specialized in Anti Money Laundering, Anti-corruption, International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice. Then I proceeded to do my PhD in International Criminal Law. My PhD research was on Regionalization of International Criminal Justice in Africa and I graduated on 27 August 2018.
Have you studied abroad?
Dr. Silungwe: My first time to study abroad was for my Masters when I went to do my Masters in South Africa after I got a DAAD scholarship. When I was doing my PhD I also stayed in Berlin for some time and in Cape Town for some time. Those were the two experiences that I have stayed and studied abroad for a longer period of time. In another case it was just for a short period of time when I came to Ghana once for a certificate course in legislative drafting.
How did the DAAD grab your attention?
Dr. Silungwe: A friend of mine got a DAAD scholarship some years before I went to do my Masters. She forwarded to me a Call for Applications for a DAAD scholarship to study an LL.M in Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention. Before that, I did not know about that kind of scholarship but when she forwarded it to me I applied and was fortunate enough to be considered.
What kind of influence did the scholarship have on your career?
Dr. Silungwe: I would say my career has progressed, because when I joined the program, to do my Masters, I was working for the Government of Malawi as a State Advocate. After my Masters I was able to get the job where I work now with the United Nations Development Program as a Legal Analyst. The Minimum qualification was a Master of Law Degree so – obviously – If I did not have it, then I would not gotten that job. So yes, the scholarship has influenced my career progression. I also think with the qualifications I have acquired, I believe that I will be able to get other opportunities, whether within the same institution or in other institutions.
Do you have children?
Dr. Silungwe: I don’t have children.
Do you think the DAAD scholarship can help women to combine career and family?
Dr. Silungwe: I think it does. I’ve seen others who have benefitted from DAAD scholarships getting a stipend for their children and even for their husband when they are studying abroad. So, it helps the family to be together, especially when such kind of funding is provided to cater for family members.
Apart from the family, what does a scholarship mean for women?
Dr. Silungwe: One key issue in terms of us African women is that we need to be economically empowered! And with more education comes more opportunities remunerable employment. I am economically empowered because I am educated. That’s important for a woman. Apart from economic empowerment, advancement in education enables women to contribute and influence policy from an informed point of view. Such policies include policies that encourage inclusion of women in different areas of the economy and governance of different African countries.
Regarding the empowerment of African women, I think, we can do more. So what do you think can the DAAD improve when it comes to the empowerment of women?
Dr. Silungwe: I think DAAD can do more in terms of opening up opportunities for qualified women enable them access education, because most of such women are not able to get funding to go and study abroad or even within their countries. As such by providing scholarship opportunities for them, women will be able to access education which is really important. In addition, in terms of research within the DAAD Centers of Excellence, the research could focus on how gender can be mainstreamed in all the courses that the Centers cover, because I believe gender is an overarching issue whether we are studying International Criminal Law, Transitional Justice or other courses. So DAAD should support the Centers to ensure that they are including gender in their course work.
We are now talking about Africa respectively Sub-Saharan Africa and I’m wondering, because not every country has the same development issues. So to what extent can we talk about Africa in general?
Dr. Silungwe: It’s important to note that Africa is a continent of 54 countries and each country has its own social-economic development issues. It’s not good to generalize and to say: Africa is this and that. You need to go the individual countries and regions and assess what kind of needs those countries have. As such, when designing any program at a country-level, it should be a program that will fit the needs of that particular country, not just putting Africa on one platter.
In the European perception Africa is still often considered as “one country”.
Dr. Silungwe: Well, there is the European Union with different countries and we have the African Union with 54 countries. It’s important that people are aware of that.
Thank you very much, Dr. Silungwe.
The Interview was held by Lani Marie Doehring, a Student Assistant at GGCDS (Ghanaian-German Center for Development Studies) at the Center for Development Research Bonn, Germany.