The overlap between economic crime and children affected by armed conflict was highlighted by Dr Robert Nanima, a senior lecturer in the University of the Western Cape’s Department of Criminal Justice and Procedure at the Law Faculty. This was during the recently concluded virtual lecture series at Strathmore University’s Law School in Kenya. The second of his two lectures that formed part of the colloquium focused on Kenya's Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
As Dr Nanima cited in a recent paper, “An evaluation of the adequacy of the African Charter on the rights of the child concerning economic crimes in armed conflict”, published in the Journal of Anti-Corruption Law (July 2021), statistics indicate that at least one in every four African children lives in a conflict zone, and six of the worst countries globally for children to grow up in are in Africa.
Born in Uganda, Dr Nanima also serves as a member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Special Rapporteur on Children Affected by Armed Conflict. He has a special interest in protecting the rights of children, be it in the courtroom or in the midst of an armed conflict.
Dr Nanima pointed out that the effects of armed conflict are not limited to war-torn areas. He reiterated that the same principles used to protect children affected by conflict can be applied to other situations, such as a fire breakout in Knysna or children who witness taxi or gang violence and are forced to remain home for their safety. The protection of their rights, speaks to their vulnerability as those caught in unrest or armed conflict. “There needs to be a deliberate way of engagement (with children) - from the government, civil society and universities,” he said.
Dr Nanima weaves children's rights into all aspects of his lectures at UWC’s Law Faculty as well as his research, be it on money laundering, criminal procedure or armed conflict. He has written numerous papers and articles on child rights issues, including a recent research paper on the effect of lockdown regulations on children, and has presented at several national and international conferences.