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WE LEAD Launch in The Hague: Gender Equality in International Law



The Hague, The Netherlands

June 9, 2022

ICC judges, ICC Registrar, Gender Focal Point, Ambassador of Ghana to the Netherlands, Deputy Prosecutor at the ICC

The Institute for African Women in Law is proud to have held the first of two Women Experts in Law for Equality and Development (WE LEAD) events for the month of June in The Hague on Friday, June 3. WE LEAD is a global database of African women in law with expertise in all areas of the law. Our goal with WE LEAD is to connect African women in law, amplify their work, and create opportunities for leadership.

In collaboration with the International Criminal Court, ATLAS Women, and the African Foundation for International Law, we convened women experts in law and allies alike at the ICC premises to meet, connect, and strategize on how we can work collectively to support women in law.

We were joined by guests who truly encapsulated the bustling atmosphere of The Hague — with representatives from diplomatic missions, educational institutions, international organizations, and more.

We kicked off the gathering with welcoming remarks from Mr. Peter Lewis, the ICC Registrar:

"Through the current initiatives being taken at the Court, gender equality is a value and a goal held highly by the ICC Principals, as well as by our staff. We are happy to have this opportunity, together with the Institute for African Women in Law and the ATLAS network, to continue to build connections with and for women in the field of international law, in order to strategize on supporting and promoting gender equality, including at the ICC."

Ms. Antônia Pereira de Sousa, Focal Point for Gender Equality at the ICC, also shared a few remarks with the attendees. She spoke on the priorities the ICC has identified in its Zero Draft Strategy on Gender Equality and Workplace Culture regarding recruitment, gender parity, and mentoring – among other key areas – through a lecture series that presents further opportunities for collaboration between IAWL's WE LEAD network.

IAWL Founder and Executive Director, Prof. J. Jarpa Dawuni was also in attendance for the occasion, and shared some remarks:

"The launch of the first WE LEAD event at the ICC in The Hague is a special moment in the growth of IAWL. The reception of the ICC leadership and community to engage with IAWL in mentoring, recruiting, and promoting women’s leadership in law is an opportunity that will benefit all African women in law.”

Prof. Dawuni concluded her remarks by emphasizing the three C’s: the need for collaboration (between organizations), which contributes to building community (strong alliances with like-minded organizations and individuals), which can lead to positive change (in achieving the common good and justice for all). Prof. Dawuni noted that IAWL is ready to engage with the ICC as the organization works towards implementing its gender strategy.

Judge Reini Alapini-Gansou, a judge at the ICC and Board Member at IAWL, closed the event with her remarks. She thanked the ICC Registrar Mr. Peter Lewis and the ICC team for being willing to engage with transnational organizations like IAWL in the court’s strategy for achieving gender diversity, equality and inclusion. Judge Alapini-Gansou called on all members of the international law community to work together to promote justice for all.

The gathering came to fruition through our collaboration with like-minded organizations who share our mission to support the formidable works of women in law across the continent of Africa and the Diaspora. What followed was a lively reception where the attendees had the opportunity to engage further:


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