At the start of 2008, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is launching new country offices in three African countries that show promise for reform. Atrio of new country directors Mathieu Ndongo-Koni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Yolande Fouda in Cameroon, and Kenneth Anderson in Ethiopia have been recruited to oversee the programs as they promote therule of law in Africa, a region where ABA ROLI’s work is expanding.
Mathieu Ndongo-Koni will oversee a project to give victims of gender-based violence access to justice in the DRC. The project will respond to thelarge-scale rape crisis in the country by providing support to local legalinfrastructure, conducting targeted prosecutions, and assisting victims througha referral network with local health services NGOs. Ndongo-Koni believes this will “open a window of hope for the thousands of people in the regiontraumatized by conflict.”
In Cameroon, Yolande Fouda will direct a program that will develop a legal framework for prosecuting human traffickers. This framework will incorporateboth international statutes and domestic offences. Prosecutors and judges will then be trained to use this manual when dealing with human-trafficking offenses.
In Ethiopia, Kenneth Anderson will coordinate a capacity building programfor the country’s legal community. The program’s first focus will becomprehensive curricular reform and development for Ethiopian law schools. The second focus will be improving training for judges by providing support tojudicial training institutes. “I am extremely excited about the opportunity tolead this new ABA ROLI program,” says Anderson. “This program willpromote the continued development of Ethiopia’s judiciary and legaleducation system, but ultimately the beneficiaries will be the country’scitizens.”