Independent Review Panel Finds in Favor of DCA Trust – Makes Recommendation to ICANN’s Board to Resume Evaluation of DCA’s Application

ICANN logoA three-member panel convened to review DotConnectAfrica Trust’s (DCA’s) request for Independent Review issued its final declaration, late yesterday. The 63-page IRP declaration, which is now published on the ICANN website [PDF, 506 KB], held in favor of DCA and recommended that ICANN send DCA Trust’s application for .AFRICA back into evaluation.

The panel cited two main concerns relating to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee‘s (GAC‘s) advice on DCA’s application: (1) the panel was concerned that the GAC did not include, and that ICANN did not request, a rationale on the GAC‘s advice; and (2) the panel expressed concern that ICANN took action on the GAC‘s advice without conducting diligence on the level of transparency and the manner in which the advice was developed by the GAC.

The panel found that ICANN‘s conduct was inconsistent with the ICANN Articles and Bylaws because of certain actions and inactions of the ICANN Board.

“Consistent with ICANN‘s Bylaws, ICANN will carefully review the panels declaration and the ICANN Board will be asked to consider the matter at its next meeting on 28 July 2015,” said John Jeffrey, ICANN‘s General Counsel and Secretary.

Although ICANN has already entered into an agreement with ZA Central Registry for the .AFRICA string, the panel has recommended that ICANN continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD, at this time. The panel ordered ICANN to pay the administrative and panel fees. The panel also indicated that both parties are responsible for their own attorney’s fees and expenses.

The IRP is one of the accountability review processes set out in the ICANN Bylaws. For an understanding of how ICANN‘s accountability review processes work, including the IRP, please view this infographic.

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