First Ivory Coast prosecution for female circumcision

Extract from Legalbrief 23 July 2012

First Ivory Coast prosecution for female circumcision

Nine women have been sentenced to jail terms for the circumcision of about 30 young girls, in what the UN said was the first criminal prosecution of its kind in Ivory Coast. SABC News reports that the women, aged between 46 and 91, were found guilty of ‘female genital mutilation’ or complicity.
last week and were each sentenced to a year in jail and a $90 fine. Although UN officials said they did not expect them to serve their sentences due to their age, they welcomed the convictions as an important first step. Last year, a three-year-old girl from near Katiola died after undergoing the procedure. A national inquiry in 2006 found that female circumcision affected 36% of the female population. A UN study put the figure at 42%.

Court rules girl to inherit as customary law heir

Litigation: Court rules girl to inherit as customary law heir

The South Gauteng High Court has declared that a girl taken in and treated as a daughter by a woman in Soweto could inherit as her customary law heir, says a report on the Legalbrief Today site. Judge Phillip Coppin declared the daughter ‘Ms K’ to be the descendant of a woman who died intestate in 2006. This was despite the fact that the woman never formally adopted Ms K and was not her birth mother.

Lawyers for the Socio-Economic Rights Institute successfully argued that Ms K had been adopted in terms of customary law and should be recognised as her mother’s descendant in terms of the Reform of Customary Law and Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Act. Dr Julian Brown, of Wits University, gave expert evidence on behalf of Ms K. ‘It is important that customary law be recognised and protected in practice.

Customary law is an active part of many people’s lives in SA. Its precepts must be given effect to, especially where, as here, substantial injustice and hardship would otherwise have resulted,’ he said.

Full report on the Legalbrief Today site:

Equal Education campaigns

Pupils at public schools should be guaranteed minimum standards of education, says Equal Education
Equal Education says pupils at public schools should be guaranteed minimum standards of education.

In a press statement, the organisation says that it is taking legal action against Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, to compel her to put into practice basic “norms and standards” for all pupils in public schools.

It maintains: “Motshekga’s argument against implementing norms and standards is based on a misconception of the right to basic education.”

To read the article titled, “Education NGO takes on minister,” click here.