Makwanyane Institute

***Click here to download the application form***

Call for Applications

The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide is pleased to accept applications for its fourth Makwanyane Institute, an intensive training for capital defense lawyers, which will take place in Tunisia between June 21 and July 1, 2020. This is the first Institute dedicated to lawyers practicing in civil law jurisdictions, and will be held entirely in French. The Makwanyane Institute, named in honor of the seminal decision of the South African Constitutional Court abolishing the death penalty, offers selected participants specialized training in the representation of individuals facing the death penalty, litigation support, and access to a global network of abolitionist lawyers. Visit for more information.

The institute invites applications from criminal defense lawyers practicing in civil law jurisdictions in Africa, in particular Cameroon, Comoros, Mali, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Tunisia. Applications are due before midnight on November 25, 2019, New York time.

The 2020 Makwanyane Fellows will travel to Tunisia to be trained and mentored by a team of leading experts in death penalty representation. Following the training, the Fellows will join the a growing network of Makwanyane Defenders throughout Africa who are devoted to innovative practices and challenges to the application of the death penalty. Fellows are expected to organize follow-up trainings in their countries of practice to spread the knowledge gained at the Makwanyane Institute to their colleagues and beyond.

The application form is here and should be returned by email to [email protected] by November 25, 2019.

Airfare, accommodation, and meals for Makwanyane Fellows will be covered by the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide.

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Named in honor of the South African Constitutional Court's seminal decision abolishing the death penalty, the Makwanyane Institute is an intensive training workshop for capital defenders. The Institute provides attorneys with the opportunity to participate in specialized training, litigation support, and community-building.

Training at the Makwanyane Institute focuses on essential skills for lawyers representing clients facing the death penalty, such as client counseling, mitigation investigation, crafting case narratives, opening and closing statements, cross-examination, and plea-bargaining. The Institute also hosts lectures from experts on pertinent topics such as mental illness and intellectual disability, wrongful convictions, international law and human rights, impact litigation, and self-care.

Makwanyane Fellows have gone on to accomplish great outcomes for their clients and have been re-shaping legal culture in their respective countries. Fellows have successfully utilized their Makwanyane Institute training to achieve plea bargains, challenge the fitness of mentally ill clients to stand trial, and coordinate national strategies for the abolition of capital punishment.

A critical component of the Makwanyane Institute is building community, and Fellows are already collaborating on various cross-country projects. The Center has also collaborated with multiple Fellows to host follow-up trainings in their home countries who share the training received at the Institute with a larger — and growing — network of attorneys.


2017 Makwanyane Fellows and Trainers in Cornell Law School USA

2018 Makwanyane Fellows and Trainers in Cornell Law School USA


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