Smith Anderson co-sponsored a global networking reception in honor of Africa’s most senior military attorneys who traveled to North Carolina as representatives from the African Military Lawyers Forum (AMLF) and the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM).
Thirteen military attorneys represented 10 African countries and were in Raleigh to attend a planning conference with the N.C. National Guard for the sixth AMLF that will be held later this year in Gaborone, Botswana. At the request of USAFRICOM, Smith Anderson attorney Col. (Ret.) Kirk Warner coordinated the networking event in Raleigh. The North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and its Military and Veterans Law Section (MVLS) hosted the reception, in conjunction with Kirk and Smith Anderson attorney Pat Wilson, chair of the MVLS.
The focus of the reception was to provide input to the African military lawyer representatives on the benefits of a bar association, including competence, professionalism, education, rule of law and ethics. Senior military lawyers of general officer level from Nigeria, Cameroon, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Tunisia, Niger, Malawi, Burundi, and Botswana attended the reception, along with several USAFRICOM and North Carolina National Guard lawyers and members of MVLS.
AMLF provides African military legal professionals with a platform to strengthen cooperation and facilitate collaboration amongst themselves to promote military operational adherence to the law, as well respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. AMLF was initiated in 2014 to gather senior-level African military legal advisors to discuss legal topics of interest, propose solutions and exchange ideas on how to improve military operational adherence to the rule of law.
USAFRICOM’s Office of Legal Counsel conducts legal engagements with partner nation military legal professionals and commanders. The group advances theater strategy by serving as subject matter experts to the challenges that partner militaries face in their ability to operate consistently within the rule of law. USAFRCOM initiates and supports activities designed to assess and bridge partner military legal capability gaps; one of the primary legal engagements that the Office of Legal Counsel supports is the AMLF.
“It was an honor to coordinate this event for my friends at USAFRICOM,” Kirk said. “It was an excellent global networking engagement with the senior African military lawyers and a unique opportunity to learn and share valuable lessons concerning the Rule of Law and the role of our legal profession in furthering our respective national values, international obligations, and, of course, justice. It was a banner night for Smith Anderson, the NCBA and MVLS, in particular."