MoU with ICJ Signed to Strengthen Electoral Rights in Africa

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December to further collaboration toward improving the prevention and resolution of violations of electoral rights on the African continent and beyond.

Collaboration between IFES and the ICJ will work towards the development of a reservoir of electoral jurisprudence from the African continent and the establishment a regional electoral jurisprudence network of judges, arbiters and practitioners to facilitate peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and professional support among election arbiters. The strengthening of this relationship will also provide a foundation for the provision of rapid technical and legal advice for urgent and unforeseen cases that may emerge. “IFES is pleased to strengthen its partnership with the ICJ and looks forward to leveraging each organization’s technical and legal expertise to guarantee the integrity and legitimacy of elections across Africa,” said IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney.

The signing of the MoU comes at a time when the role of election arbiters in high-profile elections on the African content has garnered increasing attention, building on ground-breaking cases in Kenya (2008), Cote d’Ivoire (2010), Democratic Republic of Congo (2011), Ghana (2013), Mali (2013), Nigeria (selected petitions in 2015), Burundi (2015), Burkina Faso (2015) and ECOWAS Court Case on Burkina Faso (2015), with fundamental implications for electoral outcomes in 2017 in Kenya, Liberia and elsewhere. As the credibility of elections and stability of the election environment increasingly hinge on the effective remedy of disputes throughout the electoral cycle, IFES-ICJ collaboration is a productive step towards the institutionalization of effective election dispute resolution (EDR) mechanisms.