Tunis, (Tunisia) Nov. 18 – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ 51st Ordinary Session opened in the Tunisian capital Tunis with a renewed call for African Union member states to demonstrate commitment to the continental human rights court.
Since its inception decades ago, only eight out of the 55 AU member states have deposited the declaration recognizing the jurisdiction of the African Court, this is agonisingly disappointing, Justice Sylvian Ore, the African Court President stated to open the 51st Ordinary Session, being hosted by Tunisia.
“As now, only eight of the 30 States Parties to the Protocol had made the declaration recognizing the competence of the African Court to receive cases from Non-governmental Organisations and individuals,” Justice Ore stated.
They are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania and Rep. of Tunisia.
Twenty-two States who have ratified the Protocol but so far failed to signed declaration recognising competence of NGOs and Individuals to file cases at the continental Courts are: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda.
The African Court President noted that in spite of the feet dragging by majority of the AU Member States; the Court has received over 180 Applications and delivered numerous judgments on issues as crucial as the right to participation in politics.
Other landmark cases the African Court has received includes: freedom of expression, independence of electoral bodies, women’s rights, the right to nationality, the rights of indigenous peoples and the right to a fair trial, such as the right to defense, legal aid or to presumption of innocence.
Justice Ore said in some of these cases, the African Court ordered provisional measures or indeed the payment of damages where the alleged violations were proven and the State’s liability was actually established.
He said the African Court holds four ordinary sessions each year, each session lasting four weeks, and extraordinary session where conditions so permit.
Speaking on the jurisprudence of the African Court, Justice Ore said established in 1998 with the primary mission to ensure the judicial protection of human rights in Africa, the Court opened its doors in 2006 and rendered its first judgment in 2009.
“The African Court is a fully fledged judicial imperium in as much as it is empowered to take and order all such measures as are necessary to ensure effective administration of justice, conduct of investigations, holding of public hearing for the parties, ordering various measures and rendering judgments with immediate binding effect,” he said.
The African Court’s 51st Ordinary Session which is expected to end on December 7, 2018, would examine pending Applications at different stages of proceedings, be it the stage of deliberation or that of judgment delivery.
The African Court session would also consider administrative or other matters that relate to its operation, particularly issues concerning the Registry.
Source: CDA Consult