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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurAfricaSéparateurBeninSéparateur30th Ufohja Seminar in Benin on 23 and 24 February 2012
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30th Ufohja Seminar in Benin on 23 and 24 February 2012

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The 30th Ufohja Seminar was held in Cotonou (Benin) on 23 and 24 February 2012 in the presence of Marie-Elise GBEDO, minister of justice, and was attended by nine African countries of the OHADA area as well as experts of the UIHJ and the National School of Procedure of Paris on the theme of the lease of immovable

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From L. to R.: Jean-Michel Rouzaud, President of the ENP of Paris, Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, Marie-Elise Gbedo, Minister for Justice of Benin, Wakili Laguidé, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Benin, Honoré Aggrey, Vice-President of the UIHJ
An Efficient and Credible Justice, to attract Investment Flows
 
The Training Unit of African judicial officers (Ufohja) is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It was created in 2002 by the UIHJ in cooperation with the National School of Procedure of Paris (ENP) and National Chambers of Judicial officers of countries in the area of the Treaty of the Organization for the Harmonization in Africa of Business Law (OHADA) members of the UIHJ. The Ufohja aims to provide training for African judicial officers on Ohada law applicable in the sixteen countries of the area. Training seminars are held at a frequency of two to three a year. It was time again for Benin to organize the first seminar of 2012. Cotonou, the economic capital, was chosen to host the participants. The general theme of the seminar was "The lease of immovable and its enforcement."
Nine countries of the Ohada area were in attendance: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal and Togo. All thirty-one judicial officers of Benin were present. The UIHJ was represented by its president, Leo Netten, its vice president, Honoré Aggrey, its general secretary, Francoise Andrieux, and its first secretary, Mathieu Chardon. The ENP was represented by its president, Jean-Michel Rouzaud and Anne Kérisit, ENP and Ufohja expert. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and senior officials also attended the meeting.
Wakili Laguide, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Benin, expressed his pride at having been asked to organize this 30th UIHJ Ufohja seminar. He welcomed all participants from Europe and Africa. On behalf of the Benin Chamber, President Laguide thanked Marie-Elise Gbedo, Minister of Justice, Legalization and Human Rights, spokeswoman for the Government, "for her permanent concern for the organization of the seminar and, moreover to honour us with her presence to chair the opening ceremony of this seminar. " He also thanked the President of the UIHJ, Leo Netten, for his constant availability, in line with the efforts of his predecessor, Jacques Isnard, to strengthen the professionalism of the judicial officers. Finally, the president of Judicial Officers of Benin thanked the ENP and the judicial authorities of Benin, the police and all the dignitaries who honoured with their presence the opening ceremony. President Laguide spoke about the 1996 Dakar foundation Meeting. On this occasion, he said, it was stated that the problems of the profession were very similar from one country to another. "Our challenges are therefore common and mutations induced by belonging to the same legal environment require more from us, said the speaker. The continuation and strengthening of permanent training, or exploring other avenues can make judicial officers become efficient tools in the work of justice. "
The theme of the lease of immovable and its enforcement is part of this line. Justice is a key sector in all economic social development. It must be based on fully competent and experienced judicial officers. These professionals are the guarantors, both individually and collectively, of the good image of the profession. A judicial officer professionally informed, respectful of professional ethics is the best guarantee for a smooth functioning of justice. "This seminar is therefore in line with our states policies that lead to an efficient and credible justice, to attract investment flows in the direction of our countris." President Laguide remembered that Benin was the first country to host the UIHJ African permanent council in 1999. Then, Benin hosted an Ufohja seminar in 2005 on debt collection. Wishing all a good stay, Wakili Laguide was confident that the two days seminar would result in "good resolutions and especially a better professional practice".

Reinforce Capacity and Professionalism of Judicial Officers
 
Then Leo Netten, president of the UIHJ, expressed his pleasure in being in Cotonou, Benin's economic capital. He stressed that in times of crisis, an economic capital must rely on legal certainty, which ensures respect for individual rights. He expressed his concern that "The crisis is destabilizing our economic and banking systems. Business trust is significantly altered by the explosion of economic systems: companies shutting down and entire countries being almost bankrupt ". Economic partners should then be very demanding in terms of legal certainty. The enforcement of judgments is an essential element of a state based on the Rule of Law. For that the enforcement process should be effective and fair. To meet the needs of efficiency, the profession of judicial officer has emerged over time. President Netten then elaborated on the Guidelines of the Council of Europe of 17 December 2009 on enforcement. These guidelines were prepared by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). The UIHJ actively participated in its drafting. In this unifying text, it is stated that the judicial officer should be responsible for the conduct of enforcement operations. "For this, continued Leo Netten, the judicial officer needs initial and on-going training." The UIHJ made training one of its main objectives since its inception, he said. It is this global reach which offers the possibility of organizing training sessions in different parts of the world, including Africa, where, in cooperation with the ENP, it works at the teaching of Ohada instruments to harmonize legal provisions and the activities of judicial officers. President Netten concluded his speech by promoting the UIHJ international congress to be held from 2 to 4 May 2012 in Cape Town (South Africa). He invited everyone to attend.
Marie-Elise Gbedo, Minister of Justice of Benin wished on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Benin and its president, Boni Yayi, a warm welcome on Benin ground to all delegations from Europe and Africa taking part in this international training seminar of judicial officers. The minister recalled that in 2012, Benin was chairing the presidencies of the African Union and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of Ohada. She welcomed the Ufohja initiative to organize in Cotonou "a training session which aims to build capacity and professionalism of its members through the consolidation of the Rule of Law and justice in our respective countries ".
Ms Gbedo also expressed to all Ufohja officials the gratitude of the Government of Benin for the choice of her country and their trust in the National Chamber. The Justice Minister said that the challenges of globalization lead businesses to promote the harmonization or standardization of rules, customs and practices that govern social life and business. However, "in the African context, the implementation of legal rules is often faced to a paradox in that it is for people who are often attached to traditional values and practices, sometimes foreign to the concerns of the modern world, to realities incommensurate with the law. This context often makes the Ministry of judicial officers difficult to understand for the general public" she analysed. The seminar will therefore enable the participants to share and exchange experience on the conclusion and litigation on both professional and residential leases, concluded Ms Gbedo. The Minister of Justice concluded her short speech by declaring open the 30th Ufohja seminar.
Leo Netten immediately thanked the Minister of Justice for her remarks. He officially handed the gold medal of the UIHJ in testimony of her interest and her investment in the profession.

The Constant Development of the Level of the Profession
 
We must acknowledge the excellent organization of the seminar, orchestrated by a highly competent organizing committee headed by Monique Kotchofa Faihun, vice president of the National Chamber, and the complicity of a virtually professional master of ceremonies, Simplice Dako, judicial officer in Cotonou.
Everyone was impressed by the density and richness of the work and discussions. The atmosphere was studious, friendly, warm and fraternal. For two intense days, nearly 120 participants were able to listen, learn, discuss and exchange. For sure, each new Ufohja seminar reflects the constant development of the level of the profession of judicial officer in Africa in terms of knowledge and control on the Ohada instruments.
Lease contracts were at the heart of debates. The choice of this theme proved very promising. Indeed, all participants showed their full concern.
The first panel looked into professional leases (including commercial lease) and their implementation. This panel was placed under the chair of Hortense Bankolé de Souza, former president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Benin. The presentations were given by Dr Gaston Kenfack Douajni (Cameroon), Ohada expert, with regards to the law, and by Francoise Andrieux, with regard to French law aspects. This dual presentation was made to allow analysis of comparative law.
The second panel concerned litigations on professional leases. Claudine Mougni, former president of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Benin, chaired the panel. Dr Kenfack Douajni and Mathieu Chardon discussed in turn aspects of the matter under Ohada and French law.
Each presentation was followed by a discussion with the audience, through a row of many pertinent questions. In the afternoon practical cases was studied.
The work continued the following day with the third panel on the subject of residential leases, their implementation and their litigation. Claudine Mougni was the chair. Dr Kenfack Douajni and Anne Kérisit took turn to present the situation in Ohada and in French law.
As in the previous panel, questions were numerous and very fruitful exchanges, both practical and legal took place. Case studies allowed participants to engage in further, always lively, discussions.
The fourth panel touched some aspects of professional practice: ethics, customer management, process management, statements of facts, questioning and other topics. The chair of this panel was Issaka Moussa Dan Koma, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Niger. The two speakers were Alphonse Kibakala, former president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of the Congo, and Jean-Michel Rouzaud.
The involvement of Dr Kemfack Douajni in the debates was particularly active. Everyone appreciated the clarity and precision of his presentations. Mr Kemfack Douajni said the OHADA uniform act on enforcement had entered its review process. The judicial officers are at the heart of this Uniform Act. He invited all present judicial officers to fully engage with Ohada to participate in this great legislative movement.
No fewer than three summary reports were presented. Charles Bouvi, judicial officer in Benin, focused on the first day. Jerome Okemba, judicial officer in Congo, focused on the second day. Finally, Joachim Mitolo, judicial officer in Congo, presented the general report of the seminar.
At the term of the seminar, André Sama Botcho, president of the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Togo, did confirm his country's proposal to host the 3rd meeting Africa / Europe of judicial officers. This application was accepted. Therefor in 2013 will be held in Lomé these third meeting. The theme will be unveiled in the coming months.
In his closing speech, President Laguide warmly thanked the UIHJ, the ENP, the Ufohja, as well as all heads of delegations and participants. President Netten noted the high quality of work and the perfect organization of this 30th Ufohja seminar. He thanked and congratulated President Laguide, his board and the Organizing Committee for having worked to the success of the seminar. He also complimented Professor Kemfack for the quality of his presentations and the remarks he held by encouraging judicial officers to integrate the legislative process of OHADA. He added that in Europe it is through the constants actions of the UIHJ that judicial officers were now associated with the work of the institutions. President Netten announced the creation here in Cotonou, for Africa, of an Oversight Committee composed of five African judicial officers. The Oversight Committee is responsible to monitor all work in progress and make proposals. The objective is to allow judicial officers, like their European counterparts, to be fully involved with the institutions. Finally, he encouraged all participants to travel to Cape Town in May 2012 for the 21st International Congress of judicial officers.
Participants then could carry on discussions at the gala dinner hosted by the National Chamber of Judicial officers of Benin, in a joyful, musical and dancing atmosphere, a true and always welcome trademark of our African colleagues.
 
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From L. to R.: Jean-Michel Rouzaud, President of the ENP of Paris, Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ, Marie-Elise Gbedo, Minister for Justice of Benin, Wakili Laguidé, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Benin, Honoré Aggrey, Vice-President of the UIHJ
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Marie-Elise Gbedo, Minister for Justice of Benin
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Leo Netten, President of the UIHJ
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Wakili Laguidé, President of the National Chamber of Judicial Officers of Benin
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Gaston Kenfack Douajni, Ohada expert, Hotense Bankolé de Souza, chair, Françoise Andrieux, General Secretary of the UIHJ
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Gaston Kenfack Douajni, Ohada expert, Claudine Mougni, chair, Mathieu Chardon, 1st Secretary of the UIHJ
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Claudine Mougni, chair, Gaston Kenfack Douajni, Ohada expert, Anne Kérisit, Ohada and ENP expert
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Alphonse Kibakala, Special Advisor for Africa, Issaka Moussa Dan Koma, chair, Jean-Michel Rouzaud, President of the National School of Procedure of Paris
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Simplice Dako, Master of Ceremony
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Charles Coovi, reporter of panels 1 and 2
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Jérome Okemba, reporter of panels 3 and 4
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Joachim Mitolo, General reporter
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André Sama Botcho, President of the national Chamber of judicial officers of Togo and his delegation
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Leo Netten congratulates the Organisation Committee of the 30th Ufohja seminar
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