PIONEER AFRICAN WOMEN IN LAW
Diakite Manassa Dianoko
First Woman President of the Constitutional Court
By Papa Thierno Ndoye
Diakité Manassa Dianoko is a Malian jurist born on January 19, 1945, in Kadiolo, a Malian border town located in the Sikasso region. She obtained her Certificate of Elementary Primary Studies in 1957-1958 in her native village at the Dialakoro School in Kadiolo. Dianoko then attended the Terrassons high school in Fougeres, where she passed the First Cycle Study Certificate in 1962. After the baccalaureate in 1966, she enrolled at the National School of Administration of Mali in Bamako, where she obtained her master's degree in law.
Ms. Dianoko then traveled to France where she would do numerous internships in courts and tribunals. The first two of the internships were organized by the International Institute of Public Administration under the direction of Mr. Gilbert Mangin, a counselor at the Paris Court of Appeals, and lasted respectively from October 1971 to December 1971 and from January 1972 to June 1972.
The first woman President of the Bamako Court had a prosperous professional career. Ms. Dianoko had held many important positions in the Malian judiciary for more than twenty-five years (25 years), which had earned her the titles of "exceptional class magistrate" and "dean of the corps."
During the period from 1970 to 1981, she was a successful Investigating Judge at the Court of 1st instance of Ségou, the President of the Labor Court of Ségou (December 1970 to October 1971), Substitute of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of 1st instance of Ségou (July 1972 to October 1974), Substitute of the Public Prosecutor near the Court of 1st instance of Kayes (November 1974 to November 1977), Substitute of the Public Prosecutor near the Court of 1st instance of Sikasso (December 1977 to November 1978), General Substitute to the Bamako Court of Appeal, General Counsel to the Bamako Court of Appeal (November 1979 to June 1981).
Then, between 1981 and 1988, she worked as a Counselor first at the Mali Court of Appeal in Bamako and then at the Special Court of State Security before being appointed President of the Court of 1st Instance in Bamako. She was twice elected as a member of the Superior Council of Magistracy (1979 - 1988). The renowned magistrate suffered a professional setback in 1988 after the cessation of her professional activities following an interim order that led to her suspension and expulsion from the body of magistrates. However, Ms. Dianoko carried the fight with dignity. She fought a legal battle by bringing the case to the level of the Supreme Court of Mali, which finally recognized the illegality of the radiation decree in February 1991.
Thus, after three years of inactivity (1988 - 1991), she was reinstated in the judiciary body and worked as an agent in the National Directorate for the Administration of Justice (DNAJ).
In 1991, Mrs. Dianoko became Prosecutor General at the Court of Appeal of Bamako for four years before becoming a Prosecutor General at the Supreme Court of Mali in 1995, where she was involved in the historic "trial of crimes of blood." This valiant lady did not stop there. She chained the posts of responsibility by becoming Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mali in countries like Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela between 1995 and 2002.
After these critical diplomatic missions, Ms. Dianoko was appointed Director of the DNAJ for the period from October 2004 to March 2005 and subsequently magistrate awaiting transfer from 2005 to 2008. In February 2008, the Superior Council of the Magistrature appointed her as an adviser to the Constitutional Court and, in February 2015, her renewed mandate, by the President of the Republic, Ibrahima Boubacar Keita, got her elected to the prestigious Constitutional Court of Mali. We should recognize that Mrs. Dianoko lived a brilliant obstacle course. The Iron Lady greatly contributed to the strengthening of the law in Mali through her participation in many meetings at the national and international level to raise Malian justice to the highest summit, promote the rule of law, allow the emergence of human rights, and especially to promote the development of women.
The current President of the Constitutional Court of Mali was a member of the government delegation, which signed the Franco-Malian convention on justice in 1971. She was also delegated by the Ministry of Justice of Mali to the consultative congress of the Federation of African Jurists held in Dakar in November 1982 and at the international congress on crime in Addis Ababa in November 1986. As President of the Correctional Chamber of the Mali Court of Appeal of Bamako, she was a member of the commission drafting insurance laws with expatriate experts and the Ministry of Finance in 1985. She was also a delegate of the Ministry of Justice of Mali to the statutory congress of the Federation of African Jurists held in Libreville from 1986 to 1988. A member of the Commission of the National Union of Women of Mali (UNFM) formed to proofread the marriage and guardianship code.
From 1991 to 1995, she represented the Ministry of Justice of Mali at the Communication Days, a seminar on democratic governance with donors and USAID, and at a seminar on policing of the International Committee of the Cross -Rouge (ICRC) in Bamako. Named Knight of the National Order, Mrs. DIANOKO is one of the twenty-five (25) "heroines" of the democratic movement in Mali having denounced- in "March of the women of 1991 - chronicle of a Malian revolution"- the dictatorship of General Moussa Traore. In this regard, we can say that her determination in work is a measure of her impeccable integrity. Thus, one of her statements teaches us more about her values to which she is deeply attached.
"Also, in 1988, as President of the Bamako court, I made a decision in the context of the liquidation of Air Mali, which did not please the President. And I was told to come back to this. I refused to comply. I was taken to the disciplinary council for the judiciary. Then I was suspended before being removed from the profession. However, I had just received the highest score from the President of the Supreme Court!"
Therefore vigorously obstructing President Moussa Traore, Ms. Dianoko is undoubtedly a model of an experienced female lawyer with great conviction, very committed, and very dedicated to the task. Since presiding over the Constitutional Court, she has fought fiercely for the establishment of real democracy in Mali by ensuring the preservation of the foundations of the Republic. Mrs. Manassa DIANOKO also works for the integration of a civic education module on Institutions of the Republic of Mali, so that the citizens take cognizance of it. It is this consistency in the action that makes the President of the French Constitutional Council, Mr. Laurent Fabius say "how not to help the Constitutional Court of Mali when you have a personality of your fabric in mind?".
Additionally, she fought fiercely for the emancipation of the female gender. For this very reason, she created the Collective of Women of Mali (COFEM) and contributed to the drafting of the statutes. The publication director of the Malian biweekly general information, Chiaka Doumbia, tells us about the birth of the Association of Women Lawyers of Mali that the Honorable Ms. Manassa DIANOKO, publication director of the review of the Constitutional Court, initiator of said organization, has a "talent of a fine strategist".