Makwanyane Institute

Applications for the 2018 Makwanyane Institute are CLOSED

The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide is accepting applications for its second Makwanyane Institute, an intensive training workshop for capital defenders, that will take place from June 18 to 28, 2018. Named in honor of the South African Constitutional Court’s seminal decision abolishing the death penalty, the Institute will offer fifteen Fellows the opportunity to participate in specialized training, litigation support, and community-building.

The Institute invites applications from criminal defense lawyers practicing in common law jurisdictions in Africa, including Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Applications are due November 20, 2017.

The 2018 Makwanyane Fellows will travel from June 18 to 28, 2018 to Cornell University Law School in the USA to be trained and mentored by a team of leading experts in death penalty representation in the US and internationally.

Airfare, accommodation, and meals are provided for Makwanyane Fellows.


As a Makwanyane Fellow, you will hone your skills in many areas, including:

  • Client counseling;
  • Mitigation investigation;
  • Crafting a case narrative;
  • Working with experts;
  • Working with the media.

You will practice trial skills such as:

  • Opening and closing statements;
  • Cross-examination;
  • Plea bargaining.

You will also gain knowledge on:

  • Mental illness / trauma / intellectual disability;
  • Wrongful convictions;
  • International law and human rights;
  • Impact litigation;
  • Self-care and ethics.

The Makwanyane Institute is a "train the trainers" model. After successfully completing the Institute, Makwanyane Fellows will join a network of innovative and collaborative capital defenders and are expected to build on the support they receive to spearhead training for advocates in their home countries.


Makwanyane Fellows join a network of lawyers dedicated to improving legal representation for clients facing a sentence of death. The ideal Makwanyane Fellow is:

  • an attorney who has represented or is interested in representing clients facing the death penalty;
  • passionate about providing quality legal representation to clients facing the death penalty;
  • committed to participating within a network of capital defenders in common law jurisdictions in Africa;
  • cognizant of challenges facing attorneys who represent clients facing a sentence of death;
  • innovative and willing to train and mentor other attorneys on topics covered in the Makwanyane Institute.


2017 Makwanyane Fellows and Trainers in Cornell Law School USA


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Global Executions Monitor 2018

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Global Executions Monitor 2017

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