Success Story from the Republic of the Congo: Virgile Samba-Moussinga Supports Transparency, Good Governance, International Human Rights, and International Human Law

Virgile Rivet Samba-Moussinga was born April 17, 1984 in Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of the Congo. He is the fifth son of his mum, Jacqueline Samba-Biampandou, and the seventh of his dad, the late Samba-Bitori Luc. He began his studies in 1989, at Moukoundzi-Ngouaka Primary School, in Brazzaville. Due to the influence of his family’s doctor, the late Dr. Kiabiya, and some French films that featured magistrates and their daily duties, Virgile already dreamed of being a doctor or a legal professional while in primary school.

Virgile’s passion for the legal profession prevailed by the time he reached Friendship Middle School (C.E.G. de l’Amitié), where he was enrolled from 1995 to 1998, before transferring to March 8 Middle School (C.E.G 8 Mars) from which he graduated in 1999, during the civil war occurring in the southern Congo between 1998 and 2000. At the beginning of his last year at middle school, Mr. Samba-Moussinga drew a portrait of himself as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Congo. At Pierre Savorgan De Brazza High School Mr. Samba-Moussinga drew portraits of himself as a judge.

After graduating in 2001 Mr. Samba-Moussinga began to study law at the Free University of Congo in Brazzaville. While at the university, two of Mr. Samba-Moussinga’s professors, District Prosecutor Gabin Mbemba and the Magistrate and Congressman N’Gaka Pierre, encouraged his studies, stating that they thought that he would be an inspiring judge. Mr. Samba-Moussing earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law in 2004, and after defending his thesis on a Comparative Study of Prosecution of Crimes against Humanity, Crime of Genocide and Crimes of War in International Criminal Law and in Congolese Criminal law, a Master’s degree in Law in September 2006.

In November 2009, Mr. Samba-Moussinga passed successfully the highly competitive entrance exam to the National School of Public Management and Judicature. He decided to obtain additional training so that he could serve his government as a magistrate. After two years of academic courses and professional training, Virgile wrote a thesis on Criminal liability of Doctors in Congolese Criminal Law and earned his Professional Diploma of Judicial Studies in 2011.

While still in school for his Diploma of Judicial Studies, in September 2011, Mr. Samba-Moussinga was a prize-winner at the fourth regional moot court competition that involved 27 young people from nine French-speaking countries. The competition was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Department of Justice and Human Rights of the Ivory Coast. Mr. Samba-Moussinga’s recognition was for his compelling speaking on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

After Law School, Mr. Samba-Moussinga volunteered as a legal consultant at the non-governmental organization (NGO), the African Institute of Law Practice for five months, under the supervision of the former vice-president of the Congolese Supreme Court, the late Louis Zoubabela. Thereafter, in March 2007, Mr. Samba-Moussinga was recruited by HUAWEI Technologies Co. Ltd, as a legal affairs officer. His duties included creating a recruitment process for a human resources department in a new branch of the company, making sure that all undertakings were in compliance with local law, drafting and reviewing contracts, and participating in the amicable settlement of company-employee disputes. In recognition of his excellent work, in January 2008, Mr. Samba-Moussinga was honored at the annual meeting of the legal affairs department, at HUAWEI Technologies headquarters in China. After working for HUAWEI Technologies Mr. Samba-Moussinga served as a legal consultant for the representative officer of EXIM Bank of China and for the NGO Doctors without Borders. His work with Doctors without Borders was part of the Ebola emergency mission in northern Congo.

On February 27, 2012 Mr. Samba-Moussinga’s was appointed as a Magistrate. Although serving in the legal profession was something he had long wanted, Mr. Samba-Moussinga believed that he could do more. In October 2012, based on his experience with the moot court competition, together with others from the Republic of the Congo, Mr. Samba-Moussinga co-founded a NGO, Club DIH Plus, which advocates for the knowledge and the respect of international humanitarian law, human rights, and peaceful means of conflict resolution. The NGO’s activities include moot court competitions on international humanitarian law, public debates on legal issues and peaceful means of dispute settlement, seminars and training for young law school students. Most of Club DIH Plus’s activities benefit youths and are implemented in partnership with the local office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

By May 2013, Mr. Samba-Moussinga was appointed as the county court judge and juvenile judge in Dolisie, the third largest city in the Republic of the Congo. Through these positions the Honorable Mr. Samba-Moussinga had jurisdiction over civil, criminal, labor, administrative, and commercial issues. In an effort to ensure equal access to the courtroom, in cases impacting on children’s rights, he waived application registration fees for indigent claimants.

By 2015, the Honorable Mr. Samba-Moussinga was serving as county court judge in Dolisie, and ruling on child custody, alimony, and child welfare cases. While serving in this position he received two honors. April 2015, his NGO, Club DIH Plus, for which Mr. Samba-Moussinga serves as President, was selected to have its leading members be a part of the jury at the national moot court competition. Less than a month earlier he had secured a competitive fellowship to study in the USA in June and July. The opportunity through the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship, in Public Management, at Virginia Commonwealth University, enabled the Honorable Mr. Samba-Moussinga to plan, together with Fellows Patience Ngonwei of Cameroon (hosted by the University of Minnesota), Helen Melesse of Ethiopia (hosted by the University of Minnesota), and Rindra Rabarinirinarison from Madagascar (hosted by Georgia State University), to launch a Pan African Online Platform of Young Professionals for Justice and Ethics. The Online Platform will serve to promote independence of judiciary, transparency, accountability, good governance and ethics in Africa. Under the Platform, African young professionals and their peers from foreign countries can share their experiences, seek or provide mentorship, organize online meetings and panel discussions.

In addition, based on his participation in the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship program, Virgile plans to set up, under his NGO, Club DIH Plus, a training space for peace, law, public management, civic leadership, business, and entrepreneurship for young people. Youths from all backgrounds (formally educated and not) will be invited to participate. The goal is to raise a generation of young peace-makers in Africa. Virgile has been married to Gracy Honhele since February 28, 2009 and is the father of one son named Michael-Ange.

Based on the literature on international development and personal success, why has Mr. Virgile Samba-Moussinga been so successful in his undertakings?

Some key characteristics come to mind:

Mr. Samba-Moussinga used ROLE MODELS and determination to realize his dreams. He had a DEFINITE CHIEF AIM from an early age and worked hard and obtained the specialized training he needed to achieve it.

Mr. Samba-Moussinga recognizes that his well-being and that of his wife and child are not enough. He wants for everyone in his country and beyond to have opportunities and the chance to live in a peaceful world in which human rights are respected and upheld and will COLLABORATE with LIKE-MINDED OTHERS to support his vision.

By Heidi G. Frontani

 

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