The 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL) has opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with a high expectation of contributing to the resolution of some of the legal challenges Africa is currently facing.
Judge Ismael Hersi, AUCIL Deputy Chairperson, who opened the meeting underlined the need for Africa to fully participate in the construction and structuring of the new world order.
“Considering the collective work within our body and the individual expertise of each of the members, I would like to call for more increasing visibility of the AUCIL as a consultative body within the AU, and to the increase in the number of issues that should be submitted to our body for legal advice by political bodies.”
This is contained a document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema. The Session will deliberate on a wide range of issues, including Election of the Bureau, presentation and discussion of the Inter-Sessional Activities of the Bureau and Members, and the ongoing AU Institutional Reform.
It would also consider and discuss ongoing legal studies on political, economic, and social issues in Africa – the African convention against slavery, the development of an African convention on judicial cooperation and mutual assistance, continental convention on avoiding double taxation, immunities under international law, maritime piracy, the digest of African states’ practice in international law.
Additionally, it would consider a draft model law for the domestication of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child, study and codification of comparative mineral and petroleum law in Africa, international environmental law and domestication of the protocol to the African charter on human and people’s rights.
Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the AU, noted that Africa had been able to develop consensus on various issues through the adopted regional instruments, which had in turn, made a positive contribution to international law.
He added that the AUCIL, as an advisory body to the policy organs of the Union, had a unique opportunity to study various issues in the context of existing legal frameworks and to accordingly advise the union.
The AU Commission on International Law was created in 2009 as an independent advisory organ to the AU in accordance with article 5(2) of the AU Constitutive Act.
The Commission’s main task is to advise the Union on matters of international law, undertake activities relating to codification and progressive development of international law in Africa with particular attention to the laws of the AU.