African Court to celebrate 10th anniversary

ARUSHA. – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) has organised an International Symposium slated for November 21-22, to mark its 10th anniversary at its seat in Arusha, Tanzania.“The overall objective of the symposium is to assess the work of the Court for the last 10 years with a view to making recommendations that will enhance the effectiveness of the Court for the future,’’ said the African Court President, Hon. Justice Sylvain Or.

The symposium will bring together over 150 delegates including the academia, civil society organisations, organs of the AU, judiciary representatives of regional and sub-regional human rights institutions, among others.

Themes to be discussed during the two-day brainstorming session, include:

The historical genesis of the court; the jurisdiction of the Court – similarities and peculiarities in comparison to other regional and sub-regional bodies; challenges to judicial protection to human rights in Africa; and, enhancing institutional legitimacy and protection of human rights – a persistent challenge of emerging human rights institutions, among others.

The German International Development Agency (GIZ) has facilitated the two-day symposium in collaboration with the African Court.

The AfCHPR is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Protocol), which was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998.

The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004. As at October 2016, only seven of the thirty States Parties to the Protocol had made the declaration recognising the competence of the court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals.

The seven States are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania. The 30 States which have ratified the Protocol are: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

The Court officially started its operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2006, and in August 2007 it moved to its seat in Arusha, Tanzania.

As at October 2016, the court had received 119 applications and finalised 32 cases. Currently, the court has 87 pending cases and 4 Requests for Advisory Opinion. – AU Commission/HR.

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