Press Release: Recent withdrawal of some African countries from the International Criminal Court
Tuesday, 1st November 2016
THE COALITION FOR AN EFFECTIVE AFRICAN COURT ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS IN LINE WITH THE RECENT WITHDRAWAL OF SOME AFRICAN STATES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)
In light of the recent withdrawal of Burundi (11th October 2016), The Gambia (25th October 2016) and South Africa (21st October 2016) from the Rome Statute, the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Coalition) recognizes the pertinent need for African states to secure access to justice for its citizens and to strengthen the various African human rights mechanisms in order to guarantee victims’ rights and access to justice.
To this effect, the Coalition urges African States to ratify existing AU human rights instruments such as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment on an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol)), to guarantee redress for victims of human rights violations on the African continent. Till date, out of 54 AU member states, only 30 have ratified the Protocol. These states include 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. However, ratification of the Protocol doesn’t suffice as the Protocol and Rules of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) further provide that direct access to the AfCHPR by individuals and NGOs with observer status before the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), will be granted to citizens of member states that have made the declaration under Article 34 (6) of the same Protocol, accepting the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction. Till date, only 8 states have made this declaration and they include Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. However in February 2016, Rwanda withdrew its acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction over individual and group complaints.
Given the limited number of states that have ratified the Protocol and made the Declaration accepting the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction, individuals and NGOs with observer status before the ACHPR access to the AfCHPR is equally very limited, with the AfCHPR throwing out many applications. This prevents citizens of these states from getting access to justice and seeking reparation under the law.
The Coalition would like to remind AU member states of their commitment to "promote and protect human and peoples’ rights" in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments as per Article 3(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU. The Coalition further reminds African leaders of their slogan ‘African solutions to African problems’ and that African human rights mechanism, such as the AfCHPR, have been established to address human rights issues in the Continent.
Therefore, taking into account that 2016 is the African Year of Human Rights as declared by AU Summit in January of 2014, the Coalition urges AU member states to support the work of the AfCHPR by ratifying the Protocol and making the Article 34(6) declaration accepting the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction. This will in turn promote and strengthen African human rights mechanisms, by guaranteeing citizens of AU member states protection and redress under these mechanisms.
African Court Coalition seminar on the judicial procedures of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights
African Court Coalition seminar on the judicial procedures of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Lubumbashi, DRC, 7 September 2016
The African Court Coalition and the Lubumbashi Bar Association organized a one day seminar on the judicial procedure of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The participants were introduced to the judiciary procedures of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights utilised by Africans to claim justice and redress in cases of human rights violations. The objective of the seminar was to strengthen the capacity of the lawyers on the procedures before the African Court and the African Commission, and encourage the promotion of human and peoples’ rights through the ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court and the deposition of the Article 34(6) declaration to guarantee access to justice.
Coalition presents the new bureau of the AfCHPR
Hon. Justice Sylvain Oré from Côte d’Ivoire has been elected President to succeed Hon. Judge Augustino Ramadhani (Tanzania) and Hon. Justice Ben Kioko from Kenya was elected Vice President to succeed Hon. Lady Justice Elsie Thompson (Nigeria).
The term of office of Hon. Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz (Algeria) and Hon. Justice Duncan Tambala (Malawi) came to an end on 5 September, 2016.
The session also swore-in two newly elected Judges – Hon. Lady Justice Ntyam Ondo Mengue from Cameroon and Hon. Lady Justice Marie Thérése Mukamulisa from Rwanda.
During the session, the Judges, among other things, will examine 70 applications and four requests for Advisory Opinions.
2. The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.
Further information can be obtained from the Court’s website at www.african-court.org.
MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, SUPPORT THE AFRICAN COURT COALITION!
African Court Coalition being a non-profiting Organization is open to receive donations which will support its activities particularly on trainings, seminars, advocacy and round tables with a purpose of assuring access to justice for all in Africa in working toward an effective, accessible and independent African Court on People’s and Human Rights (African Court).
Donations will also be used to support young graduates to gain experience with the African Court and the African Human Rights System as a whole as well as the work experience in an organization through a rich internship program conducted at the African Court Coalition Secretariat.
Our development partners: