The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) is proud to announce the winner of the first recipient of the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award. The award for the best thesis by an African doctoral candidate completed in 2020, goes to Dr Tabeth Lynn Masengu.

The Memorial Thesis Award was introduced to honour the memory of the late Professor Christof Heyns, who passed away in March 2021. Professor Heyns was a founder of the Pretoria University Law Press and took the initiative towards the introduction of this prize. This prize underlines his exceptional passion for promoting scholarship and a life devoted to initiating innovative ideas to make the world a better place for all. There can be no better way to begin to recognise the enormous contribution that Professor Heyns has made to advancing scholarship, research and publication in Africa, by Africans and on Africa. 


The Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria (UP) announces with pride and congratulates Professor of Law Charles Fombad on his appointment as Director of the research institute, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) in UP Law, effective from 1 September 2021.

Professor Fombad holds the degrees Lic-en-Drt (University of Yaounde), LLM, PhD (University of London) and a diploma in Conflict Resolution (University of Uppsala).  He has been based in ICLA as head of the Comparative African Law Unit since 2012. He joined UP Law in 2010 as Head of UP Law's Department of Public Law.  He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and Vice President of the International Association of Constitutional Law.

Applications are invited for the award of the first Christof Heyns Human Rights Scholarship. Applications are open to current or prospective doctoral candidates studying towards a doctoral degree in human rights at the University of Pretoria. The Scholarship is for study in 2022.

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About Christof Heyns

The Christof Heyns Human Rights Scholarship (the Scholarship) is instituted in memory of renowned human rights scholar, Christof Heyns, who was professor of human rights law at the University of Pretoria (UP) until his untimely death in March 2021. Christof was the Director of the Centre for Human Rights from 1999 to 2006; Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2007 to 2010; and was the founding Co-Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at UP.  He was United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions from 2010 to 2016; and was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee from 2017 to 2020. Prof. Heyns pioneered and supported numerous human rights education initiatives in the course of his life, including by providing opportunities to deserving students to pursue human rights education.

Dr Damian Etone (University of Stirling)

Thursday 3 June – 11 am SAST (GMT+2)

Dr. Damian Etone is the author of ‘The Human Rights Council: The Impact of the Universal Periodic Review in Africa’ (2020), which examines the engagement of African States with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Periodic Review (‘UPR’) mechanism. The book focuses on the effectiveness of African State engagement and its potential impact, with reference to what occurred during the first three cycles of the UPR.

 His work created a comprehensive framework which evaluates aspects of States’ UPR engagement, such as the pre-review national consultation process as well as the implementation of the UPR recommendations (which at first were both under-researched areas of law).

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of its Director, Professor Christof Heyns.  His death is an incredible loss, and he will be truly missed by us and so many others across the world.

Christof was so many things to so many people.

To us at the Centre, he was a founding father, a trail-blazer, and a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.

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He was our dynamic initiator-in-chief.  He played a pioneering role in positioning the Centre as a pan-African centre of excellence.  Constantly brimming with new ideas and grand schemes, plans and projects, he propelled the Centre into new directions and challenged it to explore different dimensions.  To Christof, if something could be conceived, it could be achieved.

On 16 December 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, hosted a global webinar on peaceful (and not so peaceful) assemblies: A fresh look at the international standards.


During 2020, the United Nations issued two new international instruments on peaceful assembly, which set out the “rules of engagement” for assemblies worldwide, in order to allow participants to pursue change while ensuring that tensions are de-escalated and violence is avoided. The UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 37 on the right of peaceful assembly and the UN Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement restate key elements of the international standards on peaceful assemblies.