Litigating Before International Courts and Tribunals
A Training Course for Southern African Region

May 22-26, 2000

Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, South-Africa

REPORT

Summary

On May 22-26, the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT) held in Pretoria (South Africa), a regional training course entitled "Litigating Before International Courts and Tribunals: A Training Course for the Southern African Region".

The course was jointly organized by the PICT, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Institute for Human Rights and Development, Banjul (The Gambia). It was sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (University of Lund, Sweden) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The course was attended by 46 participants: 26 students of the LL.M. program in Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and 20 officers of Southern African governments, practitioners and academics of Southern Africa Universities.

The international judicial bodies and dispute settlement mechanisms illustrated during the five-days course included:

  • International Court of Justice
  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Inter-American Commission and the Court of Human Rights
  • African Commission and Court of Human and Peoples' Rights
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement System
  • International Criminal Court

1) The Aim of the Course

The aim of the course was two-fold: First, to provide governmental officers and private practitioners of the Southern African region crucial information concerning the law and procedure of a large range of international courts and tribunals, thereby facilitating access to them. Second, to integrate the curriculum of the LL.M. students (see infra (4)) by supplementing the teaching of human rights instruments with insight on the law and procedure of all existing international human rights courts and commissions, including the nascent International Criminal Court, and by placing those judicial bodies in the larger context of the international judiciary.

2) Partners

The course was jointly organized by the Project on International Courts and Tribunals, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Institute for Human Rights and Development, Banjul (The Gambia). In particular,

PICT:

  • Designed and prepared the course;
  • Identified, invited and paid for transport to and from Pretoria of the speakers for the classes on the ICJ, ITLOS, IACHR, ECHR, and WTO;
  • Prepared and shipped the teaching material for the classes (see infra (7)).

The Centre for Human Rights:

  • Selected and invited all participants to the course;
  • Provided logistic support to the course, including accommodation and meals for all speakers and participants;
  • Made available class rooms and equipment for the course.

The Institute for Human Rights and Development:

  • Provided the speakers and the teaching material for the class on the African Commission and Court of Human and Peoples' Rights.

3) Sponsors

The event was financed with funds of the Center on International Cooperation (Ford and MacArthur foundations), of the Centre for Human Rights and of the Institute for Human Rights and Development.

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (University of Lund, Sweden) contributed towards part of the expenses of the Center on International Cooperation with funds of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (see infra (8)).

4) Participants

46 participants attended the classes: 26 of them were students of the LL.M. program in Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, and 20 officers of Southern African governments, practitioners and academics of Southern Africa Universities (see Annex I). 21 of them were males, 26 females.

The participants were nationals of 15 African countries, namely:

Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

5) Speakers

The classes have been taught by judges and senior officers of the various international courts and tribunals and dispute settlement bodies (for a short bio of the speakers, see Annex II):

  • International Court of Justice: Eduardo Valencia Ospina, Registrar.
  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: Tullio Treves, Judge.
  • European Court of Human Rights: Lucius Caflisch, Judge.
  • Inter-American Commission and the Court of Human Rights: David Padillia, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
  • African Commission and Court of Human and Peoples' Rights: Julia Harrington, Executive Secretary of the Institute for Human Rights and Development and Alpha Fall, Director of Programmes.
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement System: Peter van den Bossche and Petina Gappah, Appellate Body, World Trade Organization.
  • International Criminal Court: Medard Rwelamira, South African Ministry of Justice, Leader of the South African delegation to the Rome Conference on the International Criminal Court and the Preparatory Commission.

Moreover, Cesare Romano presented the PICT Research Matrix to the speakers, the participants and the faculty.

6) Classes

Classes were 2 hours long each (two parts of 1h 15m). The speakers were asked in particular to address the following issues:

  • Where is the institution and what, in generals terms, does?
  • What rules and instruments govern its activities (constituent instrument, Statutes, Rules of Procedure, regulations, etc.)? What law does it apply?
  • Who may bring proceedings?
  • How is it organized and who are the judges? (Composition, plenary/chambers; appellate structure, technical/scientific assessors; registry/secretariat)
  • What is its contentious or advisory jurisdiction, in terms of persons, subject matter, and time? How are proceedings instituted?
  • Is financial assistance available?
  • Are there preliminary challenges to admissibility and jurisdiction?
  • Can it order provisional or interim measures (injunctions, etc), and if so, are they binding?
  • How are written pleadings organized?
  • How are oral arguments presented, and who is entitled to appear?
  • Can third parties, intervene? How? Under which conditions?
  • What powers do they have to take binding decisions and impose remedial measures?
  • Are there any ground of appeal?
  • What are the likely costs of proceedings?
  • How can judgments or decisions be executed, including in national courts?
  • Where can more information be found, including reports of judgments, awards and decisions?

7) Teaching Material

All participants received a binder, prepared by PICT, containing the following materials:

Moreover, a certificate of attendance was issued to all those participants who attended the whole course.

8) Costs

A summary of expenditures sustained by PICT, including the contribution of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (University of Lund, Sweden) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, will be prepared in due time once requests for reimbursement have been received from all speakers.

9) Assessment

In order to assess the effectiveness of the course, a questionnaire, prepared by the Centre for Human Rights, was circulated among the participants. The answers contained in 36 completed forms have been summarized in a course evaluation report.

It was suggested by some speakers and participants that, in the future, the week-long course, might be broken in two parts, holding on Wednesday, rather than formal presentations, a round table discussion (2 hours) including all speakers and open to questions and interventions of the participants. This would help avoiding any physiological drop in the level of concentration of the participants and allow the speakers to exchange ideas on the respective bodies' practices.

10) Future possible partnerships

As a result of the success of the course, the University of Pretoria has proposed to repeat again the same course next year, about the same dates, perhaps in collaboration also with the University of West Cape (Cape town), where some, or all, of the classes might also be held.

PHOTO ALBUM -SPEAKERS

 

Registrar Eduardo Valencia Ospina (ICJ) and Judge Tullio Treves (ITLOS)

 

Judge Lucius Caflisch (ECHR) and Assistant Executive Secretary David Padillia (IACHR)

 

Executive Secretary Julia Harrington (ACHR) and Senior Legal Adviser Medard Rwelamira (ICC)

 

 

Counsellor Peter van den Bossche (WTO)