Kampala mentoring sessions for Sudanese civil society actors and lawyers

kotarski Judicial Capacity Building, News and Events AGJA

From 3-7 June 2024, the Wayamo Foundation hosted mentoring sessions for Sudanese civil society actors and lawyers in Kampala, Uganda.

Wayamo has been working with this same network of actors since the current conflict erupted in Sudan in April 2023. The network is committed to undertaking documentation for the purposes of “accountability”. Since the outbreak of the armed conflict, Wayamo has invested a great deal of time and effort in holding training sessions on topics ranging from international criminal law and open-source investigations to the application of universal jurisdiction for international crimes.

For this workshop, network members had requested more individual one-on-one time with Wayamo’s experts, in order to present the documentation work that they had done to date and receive feedback and counselling on the next steps to be taken in their respective investigations and case building.

Wayamo assembled a panel of experts with a wide-range of experience, including international criminal investigations, strategic litigation, and international prosecution and defence, to provide Sudanese lawyers with the in-depth guidance that they need to proceed with their investigative work.

The expert team consisted of Wayamo staff, representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Legal Action Worldwide and an experienced defence counsel in international crimes cases.

The pilot edition of the mentorship workshop was widely viewed as a success. Participants deeply appreciated the practical, in-depth review of and guidance on their work given by the panel of experts. Similarly, the ICC’s involvement as partners and stakeholders was unanimously welcomed. Wayamo succeeded in creating an atmosphere where the different experts worked well together in a collaborative spirit. The Sudanese civil society representatives had come very well prepared, ensuring that optimal value was obtained from the feedback received on their work product.

The aim behind the mentoring sessions is to take participants one step closer to the goal of building near-complete case files that can, inter alia, be handed over to prosecuting authorities, whether in the shape of the ICC, Sudanese courts (eventually) or universal jurisdiction venues across the East African region.

The workshop was held in the context of Wayamo’s ongoing project “Capacity building for civil society and the justice sector in  Sudan”, which provides training in international criminal law, international humanitarian law  and human rights to civil society and legal actors, both in Sudan and the wider East African region aimed at building a coalition committed to addressing impunity through regional and domestic accountability measures, such as national court systems.