Visit from LL.M. alumnus sheds light on in-court Congolese child-rights project

kabuyaD3_17aug15A favorite aspect of my new position is becoming acquainted with Georgia Law’s vast global community.

Yesterday was a special treat: We at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center received a visit from an alum who is doing great work back home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The alumnus is Mukendi Kabuya, who earned an LL.M. degree here in 2010. He’s now an attorney at Kinshasa’s Delt-August Law Firm, where his practice includes international investment, immigration, and business matters.

Last year, Mukendi co-founded a child-rights nonprofit modeled on the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, where he used to work. CASA Democratic Republic of Congo is based in Kinshasa, but works throughout the country to provide in-court assistance to abused and neglected children – including children who have survived armed conflict and similar violence. This critical effort comes at a critical time: Congo’s juvenile justice system is very young. Before it was established, children found themselves relegated to the adult system.

While here, Mukendi, who is President of the Africa Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association, stopped by the university’s African Studies Institute. And he talked about his work and career with Georgia Law’s newest LL.M. students, who begin classes today. He’s pictured above talking with two just-enrolled students from Nigeria, Gladys Ashiru, at left, and Oluwakemi “Kemi” Kusemiju.

Looking forward to the next visit from this impressive alum.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Ntaganda surrenders in Rwanda

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Photo credit: Al Jazeera

The BBC is reporting that Bosco Ntaganda, founder of the ‘March 23 Movement’ and suspect before the International Criminal Court, has handed himself in to the US Embassy in Kigali.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Ntaganda in 2006, alleging that he had recruited child soldiers into the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo (FPLC) in the DRC’s North Kivu province. Last summer, a second warrant of arrest was issued, on charges of muder, rape, persecution, pillage and attacks against civilians. If the charges of rape and sexual violence as war crimes and crimes against humanity were confirmed against Ntaganda and successfully prosecuted, it would do something for the ICC’s less than perfect record on successful prosecution of these crimes to date.

Neither Rwanda nor the United States is party to the Rome Statute, so there is no positive obligation on either state to hand the accused over to the ICC. But this news is undoubtedly welcome to the ICC Prosecutor, who has been criticised in the wake of her dropping the charges against suspect Muthaura in the Kenya situation last week.

UPDATE: Since writing, the U.S. state department has confirmed that Ntaganda is present at their Embassy and has asked to be transferred to the ICC, and is said to be

consulting with a number of governments, including the Rwandan government, in order to facilitate his request.

Thanks to Diane Marie Amann for additional information.