The Criminal Justice Club visits the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
By Millicent Mudiwa
The Criminal Justice Club had a remarkable experience on Thursday, March 16, 2023 during their visit to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, located in Arusha, Tanzania. The members of the club were fascinated by the workings of the court, and they had the privilege of engaging in a conversation with the youngest judge of the court, Hon Justice Sacko Modibo, who hails from Mali, who shared with the students on his experiences with the court.
In addition to the discussion with the judge, the Club also had an informative conversation with the Registrar of the court, Dr. Robert Eno, a Cameroonian. He explained the court's focus and vision. The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is a judicial body established by the African Union in 1998. It is tasked with interpreting and applying the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The Registrar explained that the court's primary focus is to protect and promote human and peoples' rights in Africa. The court serves as the final court of appeal for human rights cases in Africa and has jurisdiction to hear cases brought before it by African Union member states and individuals.
The Club learned that the court has a vision of ensuring that human and peoples’ rights are respected and protected in Africa, and that its decisions and judgments promote justice and fairness for all. The Registrar went on to explain that the court's work is crucial to the continent, as it provides a forum for individuals and organizations to seek redress for human rights violations.
The Club members were fascinated to learn about the court's process and how it functions. They were impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the court's judges and staff, who work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served.
The conversation with the youngest judge of the court from Mali was a highlight for the club members. He shared his experiences as a judge and his passion for promoting human and peoples' rights in Africa. His insights were invaluable, and the club members left the court feeling inspired by his dedication and commitment to the cause.
During the trip, the Criminal Justice Club also visited the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Arusha on Wednesday, March 15. To the delight of the club members, their visit turned out to be more than just a tour. They were fortunate enough to have an interactive session with the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Mr. Serge Brammertz. The Chief Prosecutor spoke passionately about the vision of the organization and how it has been instrumental in implementing justice in society.
The United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals was established in 2010 to carry out the remaining functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Its mandate is to investigate, prosecute, and try the most serious international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The court is a Residual Mechanism which means its interests in completing the cases which were handled by the ICTR and ICTY.
During the discussion, Mr Brammertz spoke about the complexities of international criminal justice and the challenges faced by the organization in delivering justice. He emphasized the importance of the rule of law and the need to hold individuals accountable for their actions, no matter their status or position in society.
He also highlighted the role of the organization in providing support to national judicial systems and promoting the development of national capacities to investigate and prosecute international crimes. He explained that the organization's work is not just about punishing those who commit international crimes, but also about preventing such crimes from happening in the first place.
The Club’s Tanzanian trip concluded with a team-building activity that took members on a breathtaking hike in the Meru forest in Arusha, Tanzania. The destination was the Napuru Waterfall, a hidden gem in the heart of the forest that is not often explored by visitors.
The hike was a challenging but rewarding experience, and it gave members of the Criminal Justice Club the chance to connect with nature, bond with each other, and improve their physical fitness. The journey to the waterfall took several hours, and it required the group to navigate steep inclines, rocky terrain, and narrow paths through dense foliage. But despite the physical demands of the hike, everyone was in high spirits, motivated by the stunning scenery and the prospect of reaching their destination.
Upon arrival at the Napuru Waterfall, the group was rewarded with a stunning display of nature’s beauty. The waterfall cascaded down a rock face, sending a misty spray into the air that created a serene atmosphere. The group members took a moment to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings before settling down for a well-deserved break and some snacks.
The team-building activity also provided an opportunity for members of the Criminal Justice Club to get to know each other better. The hike allowed them to bond over their shared interests and passions. The challenging terrain and physical demands of the hike required teamwork and collaboration, helping to build trust and communication between members.
The Napuru Waterfall provided a stunning backdrop for the day’s activities, and the challenging hike created an unforgettable experience that brought the group together. It was a reminder of the importance of taking a break from the daily grind and connecting with nature and our fellow humans.