Tuesday, June 26, 2012

06/26 - African Court of Human and People's Rights

Today, we spent most of the day at the African Court of Human and People's Rights.  They were handing down one of their first verdicts.  The court consists of 11 judges from various countries in Africa.  We got a VIP reception from the court.  We sat in the 2nd row while the verdict on the case was read.  The goal of the court is to provide a forum for the entire continent of Africa so that individuals can pursue remedies for cases of human rights when remedies cannot be achieved in their home countries through mechanisms in place already.

Outside the courthouse

It was a bit of a historic moment (albeit somewhat boring listening to a 45 minute judgment declaring essentially that they determined they had no jurisdiction on the case).  Even so, the idea that the panel exists here is great.  Later in the afternoon, we came back to the court building and we were able to have a meeting with the President of the Court.  He is a native of Burundi but now serves full-time on the court.  He was very gracious.  He spent more than an hour talking to us and answering questions for our group, and then he had dinner prepared for us there in the court building.

With the advocates before the proceedings
Group shot with the President (beside Gretchen)
Philip meeting the President of the Court

In between the trial verdict and dinner with the President, we went back into Arusha.  We visited a place called the Africafe.  It was a really cool coffee shop/restaurant in the city center that was filled with ex-pats and a variety of international tourists and visitors.  I had African fish & chips, but for dessert, they had chocolate cake.  I have never been so excited to see chocolate cake :-)

After lunch, we visited the artisan market.  The market was very interesting.  As soon as we piled out of the van, we were virtually attacked by vendors selling their wares.  There were a lot of really cool local crafts and people were sitting around carving things out of wood and making things out of beads.  Again, everything is a negotiation.  The haggling wears me out, but its all part of the experience.
Stefan does not want to meet the President

Another beautiful view of Mt Meru outside the courthouse

At the end of the day, we stopped and checked out a new hotel.  The situation has not improved at the "lodge."  We are leaving here on Saturday though and going to a new hotel.  We told the lodge managers tonight that we were canceling our second week, so the next few days here should be interesting.  Tomorrow, we are taking the day off from meetings and going to work on our individual papers.  It will be a much needed day of quiet.  

1 comment:

  1. Your daily posts make me feel so much more at ease. I am sorry for the 'lodge' accomodations. Hopefully, your next living quarters will be better. Strange to hear someone who did not even like chocolate at Stefan's age be excited about chocolate cake. We wmiss you.