CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

22 January 2014

Africa: DCA Trust Takes '.africa' Case With Icann to Independent Review Process Panel

The DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust), one of the two organizations which applied to ICANN to be mandated to manage the ".africa" top-level domain (TLD), has now taken its case with the global body in charge of internet to the Independent Review Process (IRP) Panel.

According to a media announcement sent out by DCA, the Arbitration Process between DCA Trust and ICANN ('DCA Trust vs. ICANN') shall be governed by the International Dispute Resolution Procedures of the ICDR and the Supplementary Procedures for ICANN IRP Process.

On Jan. 10, 2014, DCA Trust submitted an Amended Notice of Independent Review Process ("IRP") to the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR). DCA Trust sent its Notice of IRP in October 2013.

The Notice of IRP came after DCA's dotAfrica application failed to go through ICANN's Initial Evaluation (IE) process. Its rival - UniForum's - application however passed through the IE process.

The DCA release states: "The IRP is a proceeding provided for in Article IV, Section 3 of the ICANN Bylaws, by which any person materially affected by a decision or action of the ICANN Board may request that the action be reviewed by an independent third party for consistency with the ICANN Bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation."

It notes that the "DCA Trust's Amended Notice of IRP is the latest step towards resolution of the dispute between ICANN and DCA Trust over ICANN Board decisions and actions taken with regard to DCA Trust's application for the .africa new gTLD," further adding that "DCA Trust has not withdrawn its .africa new gTLD application, as it continues to pursue resolution with ICANN in accordance with the ICANN Bylaws."

But even as DCA seeks an independent review of its application, UniForum has already announced the launch of what it calls "Dot Africa Government Reserved Names List (RNL) Policy."

Through the Government Reserve Names List (RNL), governments are being offered an opportunity to reserve domain names that are of national significance before the dot Africa Top Level Domain is opened to general domain name registrations.

"Respective Governments will be required to redeem the reserved names within the timelines set in the RNL policy using the prescribed systems and tools that have been developed to facilitate efficient submission and redemption of reserved names," states the UniForum-backed DotAfrica announcement , adding that the African Union (AU) has through Uniform SA (ZA Central Registry) developed several policy documents, among them the Reserve Name List (RNL) policy that will be used to govern the process of reserving government names.

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