Newsletter of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice
January 2012
In This Issue

About the Cyrus Vance Center


The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar mobilizes the global legal profession to engage in activities that promote social justice, human rights and democratic values and principles. We perform our work in partnership with private- and public-sector lawyers, members of the judiciary, law schools, and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) in the regions where we work.



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Nairobi Conference      

 Kofi Annan Foundation Nairobi Conf.     

Photo accreditation: James Gichanga


The Vance Center's Acting Executive Director Elizabeth Millard attended a conference in Nairobi in December entitled Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation: Building a Progressive Kenya. The conference was convened by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities as a forum to discuss what is needed to build and sustain a progressive Kenya. As a result of our connection with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Vance Center has become active with a number of clearinghouse projects in East Africa.  


Constitutional Reform in Kenya

We have assisted with constitutional reform efforts to enable Kenya to strengthen its rule of law and avoid post-election violence in the upcoming 2012 elections. Kenya adopted a new constitution in August of 2010 to address some of the problems that contributed to post-election violence in 2007 and 2008, including an over-concentration of power in the executive branch and a lack of protection of minority rights.   Kenyan NGOs have turned to the Vance Center seeking legal memoranda regarding the soundness of various draft bills before the Kenyan Parliament. Our clearinghouse has coordinated memoranda on the following topics: the establishment of a supreme court; the establishment of an independent ethics and anti-corruption commission; the devolution of authority from the central government to county governments; and constitutional requirements for executive appointments.  We have also coordinated projects relating to the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court ("ICC"),  the legality of actions taken to ward off prosecution of six government officials allegedly involved in post-election violence and ICC jurisdictional issues related to those six officials.


Vance Center Event

Cyrus Vance Junior


Through the generosity of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, we held an event in November the purpose of which was to acquaint New York lawyers interested in becoming involved with international pro bono practice with the Vance Center. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior spoke on the vision of his father with regard to the importance of international legal engagement.