November 12, 2015

Training Affords a Malian Human Rights Defender New Tools

Ibrahim Harouna Toure is a prominent human rights defender and activist in Mali. In his hometown of Gao, he works to ensure that the human rights of community members are upheld and that victims of past violations have access to legal remedy. In 2012, when armed groups occupied Gao, Ibrahim witnessed severe human rights abuses, including murder and violence, which he says that he never imagined would take place in Mali.

Working with local human rights organizations, Ibrahim documented and submitted close to 300 cases of human rights violations before the Malian judiciary. Almost three years later, the cases are still under review. Ibrahim says that he feels like these legal procedures have failed to offer victims any closure for the human rights violations they suffered during the conflict. He says that the legal system in Mali has not provided them with any psychological or financial restitution.

In late May, Ibrahim participated in an ABA Rule of Law Initiative training that focused on strategic litigation, which included practical exercises and case studies from the region. Ibrahim says that the training taught him how to engage the legal system more effectively so that cases he presents to courts may reach a just resolution.

As he continues to help victims seek redress through the formal legal system, Ibrahim intends to apply the new impact litigation skills he has acquired. He is also determined to raise awareness about the illegality of the crimes perpetrated within his community and of possible legal remedies.

Ibrahim says that he hopes an increased awareness will encourage more people to seek legal remedies to past grievances.

To learn more about our work in Mali, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.