Cape Verde President’s remarks on the CPLP as he steps down from group leadership position

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President of Cape Verde Jorge Carlos Fonseca was in Luanda during the summit at which he handed over the leadership of the Community of Portuguese-speaking States (CPLP) to his Angolan counterpart, João Lourenço.

A testimony for history, on the eve of the signing of the Mobility Convention which, its signatories hope, will definitively transform the relationship between Portuguese speakers.

Jorge Carlos Fonseca talked to Euronews and Africanews Angola correspondent Neusa e Silava about the difficulties of negotiating with member states of the CPLP, Covid-19 response in Cape Verde and the challenges the Community of Portuguese-speaking States as he steps down from the presidency of the international organisation.

You can watch the full interview in the video player above.

Neusa e Silva, Africanews: President Fonseca, what was the biggest challenge of this extraordinary three-year mandate, at the head of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries?

Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of Cape Verde: The biggest challenge will have been that of designing, negotiating and reaching a consensus on a convention mobility within the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. A challenge that our presidency has embraced since the start of our mandate.

This convention will be a crucial instrument so that, with political will, with determination, we can take a great leap forward in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries and progressively transform it into a community of people, a community of citizens.

Neusa e Silva: Were there any difficulties in conforming these norms with Brazil and Portugal?

Jorge Carlos Fonseca: What I can tell you is that the negotiations were not easy. We in the Cape Verde Presidency had the initiative.

We had the support of other countries, a more or less strong support, there were some reservations, difficulties put forward by some member countries and, therefore, we were adapting the text of the convention in such a way that the objective that we wanted was achieved: that politically all the states would assume the convention.

Neusa e Silva: Regarding Mozambique and Cabo Delgado, Cape Verde is witnessing a similar situation in neighbouring West African countries…

Jorge Carlos Fonseca: Unfortunately, Cape Verde is part of an African sub-region with many problems that generate political, institutional and social instability. We have Boko Haram which is active in Nigeria, but we also have terrorist attacks in Mali, as well as in Ivory Coast, in Burkina Faso.

The African Union and ECOWAS itself have some experience that can be transmitted, if necessary and if requested, let’s say to other brother countries that are members of the community, in the fight against phenomena such as these, which are difficult and complex to prevent and to fight.

In the case of Mozambique, everything depends, in the last analysis, on what the Mozambican authorities want, and what kind of support they request. This support can be provided by organizations as a whole. I am talking for example about the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, which is different in nature from the African Union, ECOWAS or the United Nations.

It is more of an intergovernmental organization, with another profile, a different nature. But one sees for example member countries of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries that directly and unilaterally support Mozambique.

They can do this through their insertion in other regional spaces, for example through the European Union. This can also be done through the African Union.

Neusa e Silva: What was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Cape Verde ?

Jorge Carlos Fonseca: Cape Verde may have been one of the countries, at least in Africa, that suffered most from the pandemic because we are a small country, an archipelagic country, with few resources but above all we are a service economy and an economy mainly founded on an activity that is tourism.

Tourism represents nearly 25% of Cape Verde’s GDP and with the closure of borders, with the conditioning of the borders for flights, the tourist flows are practically stopped since February, March 2020.

We are focusing on fighting the pandemic with a particular attention to the tourist islands, Sal and Boavista, so that this year we can resume tourism activities because this is what generates the resumption of life for businesses, many of them in very difficult conditions.

I would say that the fight against the pandemic has required a titanic effort by the government in Cape Verde, from a budgetary point of view, from the point of view of increasing public debt and we hope that new times will come, knowing that the pandemic is yet to disappear.

Examining the official and unofficial translation rules for trademarks in Cape Verde

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Trademarks are the main form of IP right in Cape Verde. To date, 4,355 trademark applications have been advertised in the IP Bulletin.

Applicants with the highest number of trademark applications in the country originate from:

Cape Verde (676 applications);

Portugal (402);

The United States (384);

Switzerland (233);

Japan (170);

Spain (165);

Germany (128);

France (121);

The United Kingdom (115); and

China (108).

Although Cape Verde nationals have the highest filing numbers, the top trademark owners are Phillip Morris (Switzerland), Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan) and Hyundai Motor Company (South Korea).

In contrast to rights holders from Cape Verde and Portugal, applicants from the other countries listed are most likely to file applications in languages other than Portuguese. This raises the issue of translation and semantics when filing trademark applications. While Portuguese is the official language of Cape Verde, Cape Verdean Creole is spoken by much of the population. As such, both are considered by the Cape Verde Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) when analysing translations of words used in trademarks.

Under Article 152(4) of the IP Law, if a trademark contains sayings in lesser-known characters, these shall be transliterated and translated and inserted in the filing form, close to its representation when filing an application. Failure to do so will mean that applicants risk non-compliance with the formal requirements and a request by the PTO to provide technicians with the necessary information to examine the applications formally and substantially.

“Providing a translation of a trademark into Portuguese is crucial, as it allows the PTO to verify whether the mark lacks distinctiveness and whether it contains expressions that are contrary to morals or customs, offensive to national or community law or public order, in which case it will be refused.”

By using the terms ‘characters’ and ‘transliterate’, the scope of languages to be considered corresponds to written systems other than the Latin, for instance, Japanese (mixed scripts of Kanji and Kana) and Chinese (Chinese characters), if relying on the list of countries above.

With regard to the type of trademark, applications with sayings in lesser-known characters, notwithstanding those consisting of words, are filed as device marks, which means that the characters are deemed as images or logos.

Providing a translation of a trademark into Portuguese is crucial, as it allows the PTO to verify whether the mark lacks distinctiveness and whether it contains expressions that are contrary to morals or customs, offensive to national or community law or public order, in which case it will be refused.

Considering the linguistic elements of the jurisdiction, before filing a trademark application it is advisable to get to know some cultural and linguistic features and attest whether the translation of the trademark’s sayings into Portuguese or to Creole would have any negative impact.

Being aware of these variants in an early stage allow applicants to adjust their filing strategy and to make the necessary alterations to have a smooth process until registration.

This is a co-published article, which was originally published in the World Trademark Review (WTR).

Defense Team Of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab Questions Cape Verde’S Decision On United Nation Human Rights Committee’S Decision

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In its decision of June 29, 2021 delivered via email to the defense on 20 July, 2021 the Constitutional Court of Cape Verde considered that “there is no international normative basis that would impose on the State of Cape Verde a duty to comply with a request for provisional measures made by the Human Rights Committee” (para 4.5.3.).

The ruling was in response to a simple letter sent by Alex Saab to the Constitutional Court informing it that the United Nations Human Rights Committee had registered a complaint against Cape Verde and had sent Cape Verde a request for interim measures, including a request to suspend the extradition procedure. The Constitutional Court issued a lengthy ruling in which it attempted to justify its refusal to comply with the provisional measures ordered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, inviting Cape Verde, among other things, to suspend Alex Saab’s extradition to the United States.

Alex Saab’s defense team regrets the position adopted by the Constitutional Court.

Firstly, the Court takes a strictly positivist and voluntarist approach to international law, with the sole purpose of justifying the violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It does not take into consideration the practice of the vast majority of States parties to the ICCPR and the Optional Protocol, which usually comply with the Committee’s interim measures, with the exception of States such as Belarus.

Second, it is unfortunate that the Constitutional Court has not accepted its role as a guarantor of human rights. Rather than seeing the Committee’s interim measures as a form of interference, the Constitutional Court could have simply decided to take international human rights law and Cape Verde’s international human rights obligations seriously. The Committee was doing nothing more than requesting the adoption of measures to preserve the physical integrity and right to life of Alex Saab. This request was neither hostile nor illegitimate. On the other hand, to reject it with such force is disproportionate.

Thirdly, the Constitutional Court limits itself to a purely formalistic and basic reading of the binding nature of international law and the decisions of human rights bodies. It limits itself to an analysis of the legally binding or non-binding nature of the norms set out by the United Nations committees, taking the view that, since they are not jurisdictional bodies, their decisions are not binding.

This position, which is totally anachronistic in public international law, reflects the obvious lack of experience of the Constitutional Court in the implementation of international human rights law. The Committee is not an enemy of the domestic courts; its sole purpose is to help States parties to the Covenant to comply with their obligations under the ICCPR. The Constitutional Court could have considered the UN Committee as an institutional ally, and agreed to implement the interim measures, not on the basis of compulsion, but simply because these measures were intended to contribute to the respect of the human rights of the ICCPR.

In other words, just because the interim measures are not, in the Court’s view, legally binding, does not mean that they should not be implemented and respected. They must be implemented because they are tools for the protection of human rights and human dignity. This is the persuasive force of these measures, which the Constitutional Court was asked to take seriously.

Fourthly, the Constitutional Court oddly concludes that it cannot suspend the examination of the constitutional appeal because of the non-binding nature of the interim measures. On this last point, there is no disagreement, and the honourable Court has not been asked by the Human Rights Committee, or anyone else, to suspend the examination of Alex Saab’s constitutional appeal. On the other hand, all the actors concerned invite the Court, when it pronounces on the merits, to render a decision that respects human rights, the rule of law and the fundamental values of both the constitution and the treaties binding Cape Verde.

The Defense team repeats its previous calls for Cape Verde to comply with the 15 March 2021 ruling of the ECOWAS Court of Justice’s (which was reiterated on 24 June) declaring Alex Saab’s arrest and detention illegal, that he be released immediately and the extradition process be terminated.