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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Call for Applications: 3rd Litigation Surgery on Liberty and Security Issues in Africa

Deadline: Friday, 18 October 2013

(28 – 30 January 2014, Nairobi, Kenya)

INTERIGHTS aims to enforce human rights through law, providing protection and redress in particular regions and on issues of strategic focus. It has conducted extensive litigation before domestic, regional and international courts and tribunals including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights. It has achieved this both through representation and co-representation of victims, third party interventions and the provision of advice and materials to local partners. In addition, it has held numerous conferences, judicial colloquia and training workshops during the last two decades with members of the legal profession and civil society in many countries in Europe, Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. As part of our work we hold litigation surgeries – meetings focusing on the consideration of cases linked to specific themes – during which strategic litigation of those issues are explored. INTERIGHTS’ collaboration with partners is limited to technical assistance to support casework; it does not provide financial assistance.

INTERIGHTS is pleased to announce a call for applications to lawyers who would like to participate in a forthcoming litigation surgery on liberty and security issues. All applicants are required to submit for discussion cases involving liberty and security violations on the themes detailed in the application form.

In December 2008, INTERIGHTS held a consultative meeting with experts on liberty and security issues drawn from all over Africa. The objective of that meeting was to discuss with national and international practitioners and experts in the field of security and rule of law measures that can be taken to encourage and assist litigation at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels in Africa.

One of the issues arising was the need to strengthen the capacity of lawyers to incorporate principles of international law in the litigation of security and rule of law issues domestically and before regional and international human rights mechanisms. The need to litigate specific issues to set standards offering greater protection where existing laws and practices fall short was also stressed.

The first litigation surgery was held in September 2009 and the second one in July 2012. The objective of the upcoming litigation surgery is to identify and provide substantive support to cases involving security and rule of law issues that could be pursued before domestic or international fora and to build relationships with lawyers undertaking such cases. This third litigation surgery will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 – 30 January 2014.

Criteria for eligibility:

- The call for applications is open to lawyers, in private practice, or working for or affiliated to NGOs, who litigate liberty and security issues in Africa. A maximum of 12 participants will be selected;

- The lawyers must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of liberty and security issues;

- The lawyers must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of international and regional human rights law;

- The lawyers must be involved in litigating a case or cases that address liberty and security violations. With their application, they must submit at least one case study of a case that they are litigating or intend to litigate that could be discussed during the litigation surgery;

- The cases submitted must involve the violation of a fundamental right protected in a national constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“ACHPR”), Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) or any other relevant international human rights instrument.

- The complainant must be willing to have the case litigated before their national courts and, if domestic remedies have been exhausted, to have the case referred to the ACHPR or other applicable treaty body.

- The cases must fall within one of the following themes:

* Violations of human rights arising from counter-terrorism: such as rendition, torture, extra-judicial killings and secret detention
* Torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
* Ungazetted places of detention
* Prolonged or arbitrary pre-trial detention
* Access to healthcare in prison
* Violations of due process guarantees in liberty and security cases.

- Applicants are encouraged to submit cases intersecting the above issues and the rights of members of vulnerable groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people; women; and people with disabilities.

- Applicants are encouraged to submit more than one case.

- The working language for the meeting will be English.

Closing date for applications: Friday, 18 October 2013

How to apply:

Please complete the attached application form and submit it together with your case summarie(s) to Moni Shrestha at mshrestha@interights.org.

If you should require any further information please contact Judy Oder at joder@interights.org or Padraig Hughes at phughes@interights.org.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified soon after the closing date and should be available for telephone interviews on Friday, 8 November 2013.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is a litigation surgery?
A: A litigation surgery is a focused seminar where participants, mainly lawyers, are able to present a case they are working on to peers and experts and have a discussion about the case. The surgeries focus on preliminary problem identification, framing of violations, formulation of human rights arguments and remedy. The surgeries also provide an in-depth understanding of strategic litigation and litigating before regional and international human rights bodies.

Q: I don’t have a case, can I still apply?
A: It will suffice for participants who do not have a case that is pending but have identified law, practice or policy that they would like to challenge in court. Such participants must however demonstrate their ability to and willingness to pursue the case after the surgery.

Q: I am not a lawyer but I am interested, can I apply?
A: Litigation surgeries are only open to lawyers who are in practice. Very rarely, exceptions will be made for legal officers or other people providing legal assistance to civil society formations that work on the relevant thematic issue considered for the surgery.

Q: What is the purpose of a litigation surgery?
A: Litigation surgeries are intended to be a space for litigators to receive technical legal expertise on the relevant thematic issues. It is also a space for litigators to network and find out what other litigators in the various regions where we work are working on.

Q: Where must surgery participants be from?
A: INTERIGHTS currently works in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa. This call for applications relates to Africa and only lawyers based and working in Africa are eligible to apply. Legal advisors based in the global north who provide assistance to lawyers working in domestic courts are not eligible to apply, their local partners should apply.

Q: How many participants will be at the litigation surgery?
A: 10 to 12 participants are selected for the litigation surgeries. Three experts comprising of INTERIGHTS lawyers and other external experts will also be in attendance.

Q: Who pays for the costs of participation?
A: INTERIGHTS will cover airfare, accommodation, a modest per diem and other related costs.

Q: Is there any follow up?
A: INTERIGHTS’ lead lawyers will provide ongoing legal support when requested by the local lawyer. The assistance provided depends on the assistance required by the local lawyer.

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