Practitioner's Corner

Leveraging technology to enhance access to justice for children in Africa

To keep a finger on the pulse of time, technology and innovation are central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Context-informed and locally-adapted technology can be the catalyser to identify barriers in achieving the 2030 agenda and provide solutions for the sustainable development change so desperately needed. Ending all forms of violence against children is an integral part of the SDGs, namely through …

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Current Developments

The first genocide of the 20th century before a domestic court

A New York Court about to decide on its jurisdiction in Rukoro et al. v. Germany

Once more, Germany is confronted with compensation claims concerning wrongs committed in the past (see on this topic already the post by Andreas Buser). After unsuccessful previous cases against Germany by the Ovaherero and Nama people before the Permanent Court of Arbitration and U.S. federal courts in Washington, D.C., the pending class action complaint against the Federal Republic of Germany in the United States District Court Southern District of New York is the …

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Current Developments

Status: “It’s complicated”

On African leaders’ troubled relationship with international courts

Courts are to many African leaders what models are to soccer stars: they are arm candy, but they are not expected to develop a life of their own, or make anybody look bad in public. Thus, if international courts dare to touch upon issues that actually matter to African elites, they will either be killed off or neutered, or, if this is not possible, states will withdraw from their jurisdiction. …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Expanding Access to Justice for Socio-Economic Rights Complaints in South Africa

Which Direction Should We Head in?

The South African constitution has been lauded for its inclusion of justiciable socio-economic rights. Yet, making claims flowing from these rights remains inaccessible to many people across the country. This blog post (based on a paper being presented at a conference in Berlin on Constitutionalism in the Global South) seeks to consider the obstacles relating to access to justice for socio-economic rights claims in South Africa and potential solutions. I …

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Current Developments

The International Arbitration Bill and the future of arbitrations in South Africa

“The vast bulk of Africa-related international arbitration cases are resolved in Europe.” Most treaties concluded by the Republic of South Africa (‘RSA’) do not require the exhaustion of domestic remedies before approaching an international tribunal. The case of Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others v. Republic of South Africa (ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/07/1) (‘Piero Foresti’) has been cited as the case that galvanised the government of South Africa to take …

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Discussion

Putschists behind Bars?

Regional Criminalization of Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa

This contribution results from our cooperation with the journal „Swiss Review of International and European Law“ an discusses an article by Abdoulaye Soma on the international crime of unconstitutional changes of government, which was published in December 2016. The Point of Departure Regionalism continues to increasingly develop in various fields of law. Abdoulaye Soma, who acknowledges the birth of an African international criminal law, analyses one of its specificities: the …

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Current Developments

German Genocide in Namibia before U.S. Courts

Ovaherero and Nama sue Germany over Colonial Injustices – Again

Since October 2016, the German Historical Museum has been dealing with the past and presence of German colonialism in a special exhibition (see here) – for the first time ever. But German colonialism is not only a dusty artefact exposed in some German museum. Instead, it continues to haunt the German State in the form of claims for reparations by the descendants of the victims of colonial injustices. While German …

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Alternative Dispute ResolutionPractitioner's CornerSymposium

From curse to opportunity: Mediation of natural resource conflicts

Since 1946, at least 40 % of intrastate conflicts have been linked to natural resources. Furthermore, conflicts associated with natural resources are more likely to relapse into violence within the first five years of a peace agreement. Fortunately, an increasing number of peace processes and related agreements include natural resource provisions on a direct or indirect basis. For these and other reasons, resource-sensitive mediation and dispute resolution is becoming an …

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DiscussionResponse

Yes, redressing past wrongs in the present!

A rejoinder to Maximilian Pichl and Mieke van der Linden I fully support Mieke van der Linden’s thesis that the illegal nature of the colonization in Africa, and indeed everywhere else needs to be recognized. This is one way of redressing past wrongs. Just one way, which is why I have to oppose the notion that it is an alternative to claims for reparation. The one might not even be …

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DiscussionResponse

Redressing Colonial Wrongs?

A response to Maximilian Pichl On 12 May 1883, the Germans set foot ashore on the coast of South-West Africa – now known as Namibia. The settlement of Germans on natives’ lands immediately became a fact. The native peoples inhabiting the area, the Herero and the Nama, resisted to the German presence on and expropriation of their lands. As a reaction, the Germans launched a war of extermination during the …

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