TRIAL delivers its first regional training session for African Great Lakes lawyers
Building on its considerable expertise in Burundi and the DRC, TRIAL International has held its first joint training session for 80 Burundian, Congolese and Rwandan lawyers. This represents the launch of the organization’s regional ‘Great Lakes’ strategy.
Since February 2018, the Great Lakes Association Bar (GLAB) has brought together the Bar Associations of Goma (DRC), Bukavu (DRC), Bujumbura (Burundi) and Rwanda. Founded to promote exchanges between lawyers in the region, the initiative resonated with TRIAL International. Indeed, the organization has been working in Burundi and the DRC for several years, and, thanks to GLAB, it will be able to systematize the support it offers to lawyers in the region.
“We noticed that Congolese and Burundian lawyers were facing similar issues in their fight against impunity,” explains Pamela Capizzi, head of the Burundi program at TRIAL International: “So, we have built our training around topics which will be useful to each Bar, including the documentation of international crimes, such as arbitrary detention and sexual violence.”
Towards a regional strategy in the Great Lakes
This training session marks the first step in TRIAL International’s new cross-border approach in the region. In the future, the organization is to lead more and more joint projects, even extending its action to other countries in the area.
The training session is also an opportunity to reinforce the regional dialogue between the lawyers themselves. “Our approach is based on consolidating skills, in other words giving local partners the tools to drive change themselves”, explains Daniele Perissi, head of TRIAL International’s DRC program, noting: “In this sense, building a cross-border network of lawyers who know each other and share their good practices helps ensure the sustainability of our action on the ground.”
The training brought together 80 lawyers, equally representing the Bar Associations of Goma, Bukavu, Bujumbura and Rwanda, with a significant number of female lawyers. “Through this training session, TRIAL International has offered GLAB a great opportunity, realizing one of its objectives, namely the creation of a framework, based on the sharing and exchange of legal knowledge, aimed at promoting the respect and application of law in the region”, affirms Abel Ntumba, President of the Bar of Goma and President of GLAB.
Watch the report on the training session (in French):