Global collaboration delivers ILBF shipment to lawyers in the DRC

This shipment was the result of a truly global collaboration, with contributions across the legal sector playing a vital role to help secure essential legal texts and resources for the Central Kasaï Bar Association in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Nigel Roberts at LexisNexis US first connected Jacqueline Scott of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) with the ILBF. The UIA has been working with the Central Kasaï Bar Association, whose lawyers represent victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as individuals accused of war crimes in the Kasaï region of the DRC.

The situation in Kasaï is extremely difficult for members of the legal profession and the judiciary. The Central Kasaï Bar Association is working to rebuild the judicial system in the Kasaï region, helping to ensure access to justice and due process, and in doing so protecting the rule of law.

Many lawyers and judges in Kasaï have been threatened or attacked, and many have moved away. There are few judges remaining in the entire region. There is no legal aid system, and the lawyers of the Kasaï Bar Association work pro bono to represent individuals accused of war crimes.

Money is very tight, and the Central Kasaï Bar Association lacks essential resources. For example, they have computers but lack sufficient electricity to run them. The UIA raised funds to purchase solar panels, so that they can continue their work.

A lack of law books and research tools and resources is also a significant problem for the Kasaï lawyers and they asked for help obtaining such resources. The ILBF was very happy to be able to help with finding suitable legal resources.

Books donated to the law library at the Central Kasaï Bar Association, DRC

Juliette Papiernik-Sexer and Lise Rosière of LexisNexis France organised the donation of over 260 essential and important French legal texts including major legal codes, key textbooks and academic journals.

To assist with logistics, Kévin Laurent and Marie Adaikalam of Clifford Chance Paris collected and packed up the books for shipment to the DRC. The shipment was gratefully received by Bâtonnier Dominique Kambala, President of the Central Kasaï Bar Association.

Lawyers using the books at the Central Kasaï Bar Association, DRC

The books arrived at the end of 2019 and have been added to the Central Kasaï Bar Association library where they are available to judges, lawyers and law students. We hope that the books will enhance legal information resources and assist the Kasaï lawyers in their vital work in upholding the rule of law.

The ILBF could not have managed this shipment without the initial collaboration between LexisNexis US and UIA, the ILBF donation from LexisNexis France and the help of Clifford Chance in Paris. It was a truly international effort.

“This shipment of books to the Kasai Bar Association was a great collaboration across all sectors of the legal profession—with representatives from law firms (Fortney Scott and Clifford Chance), professional organisations (Union Internationale des Avocats), publishing (LexisNexis) and pro bono (ILBF)—and across borders (DRC, US, France and UK). What a community of skills and passion for the rule of law!”

Katrina Crossley, ILBF CEO

Watch this short video to hear from Bâtonnier Dominique Kambala, President of the Central Kasaï Bar Association:


To find out more about the UIA’s support of the Central Kasaï Bar Association, click here.