Benin has ratified Protocol to African Charter
BENIN HAS RATIFIED THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AFRICAN COURT ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS
We are delighted to inform you that the Republic of Benin has ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which makes it the 28th State to ratify that Protocol.
Advocacy seminars on Ratification held in Benin and Togo
The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court Coalition) and its Western Africa Focal Points, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project in collaboration with two organizations, the Benin Coalition for International Criminal Court in Benin and Western Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in Togo carried out advocacy seminars in Benin from 15th to 16th May and in Togo from 20th to 21st May 2014.
The advocacy seminars were in line with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) sensitization missions in Benin and Togo within its program to sensitize the countries which are still lagging behind in the process of ratification and deposit of the declaration under Article 34(6) 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).
All activities and objectives in both Benin and Togo planned prior the seminar were implemented and achieved, this included; general introduction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, capacity building on the Court’s Rules of Procedure presented by judges of the Court, Hon. Sylvain Ore and Hon. Kimelabalou Aba in Benin and Honorable Kimelabalou Aba in Togo.
Further implemented activities included the advocacy strategies to foster ratification or deposit of the said declaration and setting up of advocacy follow up mechanisms and country focal point were all presented by the African Court Coalition and collaborating partners in respective countries.
The advocacy seminars were successful that it increased awareness of the Court’s work in Benin and Togo which will increase voices to advance human rights and build capacity of NGOs and individuals to use the Court.
Along that success, the African Court Coalition and its partners were able to discovered that Benin had already began the processes of ratifying and depositing of the advocated Article of the Protocol, since 1999 with a decret of Benin Parliament (1999) and a law (2000) : (DECRET No 99-244 DU 14 MAI 1999, Portant transmission á l’ Assemblée nationale pour autorisation de ratification, du Protocole relatif á la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peoples portant creation d’une cour africaine des droits de l’homme et des peoples; L O I No 2000 – 10 DU 4 JUILLET 2000, Portant autorisation de ratification du Protocole relative á la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples portant creation d’une Cour Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples).
Advocacy strategies to foster ratification or deposit of the declaration and setting up of advocacy follow up mechanisms and formulation of focal points were also achieved that; in Benin two NGOs were formed by the participants to be the focal points these are; Changement Social Bénin (CSB) and FORAID.
Participants adopted as strategy to engage with the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the two institutions were identified as key actors on the ratification and the deposit of the Declaration process. In Togo, participants choose Western African Human Rights Defenders Network and Institut des Medias pour les Droits de l’Homme to be the focal points for advocacy follow up, also they identified key advocacy strategies including taking into account the work done so far by other organizations regarding the advocacy follow up on the deposit of the Declaration by Togo and identifying key actors to be reached in order for Togo to deposit the Declaration.
In its aim of being the extension of the Court’s hand in reaching more people and increasing voices, the African Court Coalition and its collaborating partners in respective countries were able to recruit new African Court Coalition members numerically Benin 13 and Togo 19 who being part of the African Court Coalition will benefit from getting the feeds of engagements of the Court and all other human right related feeds from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union, and to participate as well as be informed in activities of the African Court Coalition.
The advocacy seminars where financially supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Coalition at the 55th session of African Commission
African Court Coalition Angola advocacy mission prior to and during the 55th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
From 25th April to 1st May 2014, prior and during the 55th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), in Luanda, Angola, the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court Coalition) together with Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the African Court Coalition Southern Africa Focal Point) and Association de Droits de l’Homme et l’Univers Carcéral (the African Court Coalition Central Africa Focal Point) carried an advocacy mission with the objectives to impress on the importance of the ratification of the Protocol creating the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Declaration under Article 34(6) of the same Protocol; give an update on the Court work as well as the African Court Coalition work.
The African Court Coalition was represented by Mr Dieu-Donné Wedi Djamba, its Executive Secretary, the Coalition Central Africa Focal Point was represented by Mr. Moke Lwamba and Southern Africa Focal Point was represented by Mrs. Susan Mutambasere.
The Team was also able to disseminate the African Court Coalition publications which aid to expose valuable knowledge about the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and the relationship between the Court and the Commission giving people comprehensive and clear functions of the Court, composition and rules of procedural requirements of submitting cases to the African Court and other various aspects of the Court.
The Team met one to one state representatives, from Angola, Senegal, Kingdom of Swaziland, South African and The Gambia where emphasis and elaboration of the aim of the mission on the importance of the ratification of the Protocol creating the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Declaration under Article 34(6) of the same Protocol as said above was discussed.
The mission was successful that, the representatives were able to recruit 13 new members to join the African Court Coalition.
In addition, prior the Commission session, the African Court Coalition was able to attend the NGO Forum and Book Fair which enable the mission representatives to meet and network with other human rights institution and engaged in Civil Societies organization activities.
African Court Coalition Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion
The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court Coalition) and its Southern Africa Focal Point, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum organized a successful Roundtable Discussion themed “Reflecting on Collaboration between the African Court and Sub-regional Courts in line with the Extension of the African Court Jurisdiction to Criminal Matters” on 7 December 2013 at Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania.
The Discussions focused on the avenues of collaboration between the African Court having criminal jurisdiction in order to fight impunity of international crimes in Africa and also on the complementarity of the African Court and Sub-regional Courts with the work of the International Criminal Court (the ICC) if these courts (African Court and sub-regional Courts) will end up having international criminal justice jurisdiction.
The Roundtable Discussion gathered human rights and legal experts including the President of the African Court and other Judges of the same Court, a Judge from the East African Court of Justice, Registrar of SADC Tribunal as well as other practitioner lawyers and scholars.
Presentations made during the Roundtable Discussion were as follow with the respective names of presenters -
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