African court begins 49th ordinary session today

16Apr 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
African court begins 49th ordinary session today

THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will begin its 49th Ordinary Session today at its seat in Arusha.

The judges, among others, will examine over 15 applications during the four-week session to stretch up to 11 May, 2018.  Five judgments and three public hearings are scheduled during the period.

According   to a statement issued by court registrar Dr Robert Eno, the Pan African court is composed of eleven judges, nationals of member states of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.

Dr Eno said the continental court, which was established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa, meets four times a year for ordinary sessions and may hold extra-ordinary sessions.

“As at April 1, this year, the Court had received 166 applications and has finalized 37,” he said.

Based in Arusha, AfCHPR complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

It 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 Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004.

As at February 2018, only eight (8) of the thirty (30) states parties to the Protocol had made the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals.

The eight (8) states are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi , Tanzania and Rep. of Tunisia.

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 has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, (the Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.

Specifically, the Court has two types of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory.