African Court Judges
Current judges of the African Court
Justice Augustino S L Ramadhani, Tanzania
Justice Augustino S L Ramadhani hails from the United Republic of Tanzania. He was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2010 for a six year term.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of East Africa (1970), a Master of Laws from the University of Dar es Salaam (1978) in International Law (the law of armed conflict) and a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of London (2004).
Immediately after obtaining his first degree Justice Ramadhani joined the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Forces. After training in the Tanzania Military Academy, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and reached the rank of Brigadier General when he was voluntarily released in 1996 when Tanzania resumed multiparty democracy.
Prior to being appointed Judge of the African Court, Justice Ramadhani was a Justice of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1989 to 2010 when he retired after attaining the compulsory retirement age of 65 years. In his last three years on the bench he was the Chief Justice of Tanzania from 2007 to 2010. Justice Ramadhani was also the Chief Justice of Zanzibar from 1980 to 1989. He had served as a Judge of the East African Court of Justice from 2001 to 2007.
From 1993 to 2003 Justice Ramadhani was the Vice Chairman of the National Electoral Commission which conducts presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in the United Republic of Tanzania. He held the same position in the Zanzibar Electoral Commission from 2002 to 2007. He was the Chairman of Executive Council of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Commission Forum in 2006 and 2007.
He has published articles on human rights, such as ‘Promoting a New Economic Order in Developing Countries: A Role for Human Rights Organizations’, published in Speaking about Rights (Canada Human Rights Foundation Newsletter), Vol. XI No. 3/1996, and ‘Electoral Process in a Multiparty Democracy’, a chapter in the book Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in Tanzania, (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, 1978).
Justice Elsie Nwanwuri Thompson, Nigeria
Justice Elsie Nwanwuri Thompson is from Nigeria and was elected to the Court for a term of six years on 27th July 2010. She is a serving Judge of the High Court of Rivers State, Nigeria. Called to the English bar in 1984 after an LLB Honours degree from the Queen Mary College University of London and Nigerian bar in 1985.
Judge Thompson, prior to her appointment as a High Court Judge, was in active private legal practice for 20 years and worked on human rights cases. She has served in several associations, notably, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), where she held several posts, including Regional Vice President for Africa.
Judge Thompson is a resource person at seminars and conferences. She has presented several papers on women and children’s rights as well as other topical legal issues.
She is a member of the honourable society of Gray’s Inn and also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK.
Justice Gérard Niyungeko, Burundi
Justice Gérard Niyungeko is a national of Burundi. He was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2006 for a term of six years (renewable once only). He served as the first President of the Court (2006-2008). He was re-elected for the second term as President of the African Court for the period 2010-2012.
Justice Gérard Niyungeko is a holder of a PhD in Law from the University of Brussels (1988) and a Professor of International Law, Constitutional Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Burundi.
He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Burundi (1979), a Masters Degree in International Law from the University of Brussels (1983) and Diploma of the Hague Academy of International Law (1984).
He served as a visiting teacher at the Summer Courses of International Humanitarian Law in Dijon (France, September 1992) and Nottwill (Switzerland, September 1994); at the University of Brussels (2002-2003); at the Hague Academy of International Law (July-August 2007); at the Ottawa University (January 2009) and at the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France, July 2010). From 1999 to 2003, Justice Gerard Niyungeko was the Chair-Holder of UNESCO Chair in Education for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Burundi.
He was the Vice-Rector of the University of Burundi (1997-2000); President of the Constitutional Commission of Burundi (1991-1992); President of the Constitutional Court of Burundi (1992-1996); Member of the Tribunal of the Preferential Trade Area of the Eastern and Southern African Countries (PTA) (1991-1996); Counsel before the International Arbitral Tribunal (Brussels, 1991-1992) and before the International Court of Justice (1999-2001 and 2002-2005); Consultant in the United Nations System (2001 and 2002) and within the African Union Commission (2005-2006). He is currently a member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
He is the author of several works, including the following: Les droits de l’homme, cours destiné aux formateurs, Bujumbura, 1994, 92 p.; La preuve devant les juridictions internationales, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2005, 480 p.
Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz, Algeria
Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz is one of the inaugural judges of the Court as he was first elected as Judge of the Court for in 2006 for a four year term and then re-elected in 2010 for a six-year term.
Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz is graduated in Law from the University of Saint-Etienne (France) and hold a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International Law (Geneva, Switzerland).
He was an Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Burundi (appointed by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, 2010-2011).
Until November 2006, he was Secretary of the International Court of Justice (The Hague) where he worked for 12 years. Before joining the World Court, he was a Legal Officer at the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations (New York) and then a Human Rights Officer in Rwanda for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Judge Ouguergouz taught Public International Law at the Law School of the University of Geneva for four years.
He is a former Orville H Schell Fellow (Yale Law School); Guest Professor at the University Panthéon-Assas (Paris II, France) and Father Robert F Drinan Professor of Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center (Washington D.C.). He is regularly invited as guest lecturer by numerous universities, international organizations, or other institutions like the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France) or the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR, Geneva).
Judge Ouguergouz is a founding member and the Executive Director of the African Foundation for International Law (The Hague) as well as Associate Editor of the African Yearbook of International Law. He is a Member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of the African Human Rights Law Journal (Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria) and of the International Law in Domestic Courts Online (Amsterdam/Oxford).
He is the author of numerous publications in the field of international law, including two books: "The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights - A Comprehensive Agenda for Human Dignity and Sustainable Democracy in Africa" (Nijhoff Publishers, 2003, 1016 pages) and "La Charte Africaine des droits de l'homme et des peuples - Une approche juridique des droits de l'homme entre tradition et modernité" (Presses Universitaires de France, 1993, 479 p).
Justice Duncan Tambala, Malawi
Judge Duncan Tambala, a national of Malawi, was elected judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2010 for a six year term.
At the time of his election, Justice Tambala had just retired from the bench of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on which he served from 1998 to 2009. He remains a Justice of Appeal for the COMESA Court.
Judge Tambala is a holder of Bachelor of Laws degree obtained in Malawi in 1972 and a Master of Laws Degree from Bristol University, United Kingdom in 1985.
He has served in Malawi as a State Advocate (1972 -1973), Resident Magistrate (1973-1979), Chief State Advocate (1985-1987), Director of Public Prosecution (1987-1989) and Judge of the High Court (1987-1998).
From 1995 to 2005, he was the Chairman of the Inspectorate of Prisons in Malawi, and a member of the Special Commission to Review the Constitution of Malawi in 1998. Currently, he is Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
Justice Tambala is the author of "Bench Book for Lay Magistrates" published in 1995.
Justice Sylvain Ore, Côte d’Ivoire
Justice Sylvain Oré is a national of Côte d’Ivoire. He was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2010 for a four-year term.
He has been an Advocate and Member of the Ivorian Bar since 1998.
He is a holder of a Masters degree in Law and an Advocates Proficiency Certificate (CAPA) obtained from the University of Abidjan-Cocody. He is also a holder of a postgraduate degree (DESS) in Human Rights awarded by the “Institut de la dignité et des droits humains” of the Centre for Research and Action for Peace (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire).
He attended an advanced course in human rights litigation at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja, Nigeria. He also pursued higher studies in international and comparative law of human rights at the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France).
In 2001, he won the public speaking competition for advocates, organised by the Ivorian Bar and was awarded the prestigious title of “Secrétaire de Conférence”.
Justice Oré is the author of a postgraduate dissertation on “The protection of human rights by the ECOWAS Court of Justice”.
Justice El Hadji Guissé, Senegal
Justice El Hadji Guisse, a national of Senegal, was first elected as a judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in January 2006, for a four year term, which ended in 2010. He was once again re-elected a judge of the Court for a six year term in July 2012.
Justice Guissé is a holder of Bachelor of Laws degree in Private Law and a diploma of the Judicial Studies Center of Paris. He is also a Graduate of the International Institute of Human Rights.
He has served in the judiciary in Senegal in various capacities. He respectively served as an Investigating Judge in Dakar, as the President of section of the Working Court, as Judge in the Exceptional Court of Dakar, as Judge of the Court of Appeal of Dakar, as Counsellor to the Court of Appeal, as President of Chamber to the Court of Appeal and Deputy Director of the Criminal Affairs and Favours.
Justice Guissé also taught Law at the National School of Administration of Judiciary, the National School of Police and the National School of Health.
Justice Guissé is a former Secretary-General of the Senegalese Committee for Human Rights. He has also served in the national Committee for UNESCO. He also served as the Secretary-General of the International Organisation for the Realization of Cultural Social and Economic Rights.
Justice Guisse has also served in the United Nations in various capacities. He was a Member, Rapporteur, Vice-President and President of the UN Sub Commission on the Fight against Discriminatory Practices and the Protection of Minorities. He also served as a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Drinking Water and as a President of the Working Group on the Consequences of Activities of Transnational Corporations on Human Rights.
Justice Ben Kioko, Kenya
Justice Kioko, a national of Kenya, was elected judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in July 2012 for a six-year term.
During his professional career, Justice Kioko has acquired extensive legal experience and expertise working with the African Union bodies, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including EAC, ECCAS, IGAD, SADC, COMESA, ECOWAS, and CENSAD.
Justice Kioko served in the legal service of the OAU/AU in various capacities rising to become the Chief Legal Adviser to the African Union Commission from 2001 to July 2012. As the Chief Legal Adviser to the Commission, he performed depository functions for OAU/AU treaties, overseeing the drafting of treaties and agreements, contracts and preparation of reports for submission to the Executive Council and the Assembly of the Union.
While in the legal service, Ben Kioko initiated annual meetings between the Legal Advisers of the AU and the RECs and also established collaborative arrangements with the Legal Advisers of AU interlocutors particularly those of the United Nations (UN) System, the European Union (EU), Asian African Legal Consultative Organization and other international organisations.
He was also involved in the conceptualisation, drafting and negotiation of treaties adopted under the aegis of the OAU/AU since 1994 and the operationalisation of the treaty organs established therein including those relating to the judicial organs of the OAU/AU. He was also involved in the drafting and negotiation of a variety of human rights instruments such as those relating to combating corruption, rights of women, democracy, governance and elections, as well as the architecture in the Constitutive Act and Statutes of ECOSOC, aimed at involving the African peoples in the work of the AU.
With regard to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Ben Kioko was part of the initial group that sought the Assembly decision on the matter in 1994, met in Addis Ababa and Geneva to initiate the Zero Draft Protocol, and subsequently convened all the meetings of Government experts and Ministers of Justice prior to the adoption of the Protocol by the Executive Council and the Assembly.
Justice Kioko serves as Member, Advisory Group on Implementation of the Human Rights Standards Project, Human Rights Implementation Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Bristol, United Kingdom; Member, Editorial Board, Commonwealth Law Journal, Commonwealth Secretariat, London, United Kingdom; and Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Justice Rafaa Ben Achour, Tunisia
Justice Rafaa Ben Achour, a native of Tunisia, was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2014, for a six year term.
He is Professor Emeritus in Public Law at the Faculty of Law, Political and Social Sciences of the University of Carthage (Tunisia).
Justice Ben Achour is a holder of a Degree in Advanced Studies in Public Law, obtained in 1978; a Degree in Political Sciences, obtained in 1979; a Doctorat d’État (PhD) in International Law obtained in 1984; and was admitted into the corps of lecturers in Public Law and Political Sciences in the University of Tunis in 1987.
He has been President of a University, Minister and Ambassador.
He has written several books and articles in law.
Until 2010, he was an AU expert on the transformation of the African Union Commission into the African Union Authority.
Justice Ben Achour was a member of the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL). He is a member of the International Human Rights Institute in Strasbourg (2003). He was a founding member of the International Academy of Constitutional Law, where he was Secretary-General from 1986 to 1996. He is an alternate member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law. Justice Ben Achour was a Board member of the United Nations University from 2001 to 2007.
Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa, Uganda
Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa is a national of the Republic of Uganda. She was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2014, for a term of six years.
Judge Bossa is a highly accomplished judge with over twenty-seven years of legal and judicial work experience at national, regional and international level. She has considerable exposure and experience in international judicial practice, international human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and constitutional law.
She has served as a judge with the High Court or Uganda for sixteen years (1997-2013); the East African Court of Justice for five years (2001-2006); United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) for nine and half years (2003-2013); and currently serves as a judge on the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court for Uganda.
Before joining the Bench, she was a Lecturer/Law Reporter at the Law Development Centre of Uganda for seventeen years (1981-1997). She has, been a human rights activist since 1980 and has founded/chaired non-profit organisations in human rights like the East African Law Society; the East African Centre for Constitutional Development; the Uganda Network on HIV, AIDS, Ethics and the Law; the Uganda Law Society, among others. She has also chaired government bodies like the Law Council and the National Steering Committee on Community Service,
On the international scene, she is a member of the International Commission of Jurists, the international Association of Women Judges, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights and the East African Judges and Magistrate's Association, among others. At national level, she is a member of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Uganda Chapter, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Uganda Association of Judges and Magistrates.
As a Bar leader, she is well-trained on improving access to justice, constitutional and democratic governance, and leadership skills. She contributed significantly towards the establishment of the East African Law Society, the East African Centre for Constitutional Development (Kituo cha Katiba), and the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics, HIV and the Law. She also participated through the aegis of the International Commission for Jurists, in the initial stages of drafting of the Additional Protocol on Women to the African Charter.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) Honors from Makerere University. She is a candidate for a Master of Laws Degree (LLM) from the University of London. She has received various national, regional and international awards in recognition of her distinguished services as a legal practitioner, judge and human rights activist.
Justice Angelo Vasco Matusse, Mozambique
Justice Angelo Vasco Matusse is a national of the Republic of Mozambique. He was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2014, for a term of six years.
Justice Matusse holds a Bachelors Degree in Law and two Masters Degrees in International Law, from Baku State University (1991) and in International Business Law from QMW College, University of London (1995). He has equally participated in several professional courses, such as Children’s Rights, Women’s Rights, International Environmental Law, and Legislative Drafting.
As Deputy Attorney-General of Mozambique, he has served as State Advocate at the Supreme Court since 2007. He was Senior Advisor to the Attorney-General from 1998 to 2007 and, before that, he was in private practice.
He lectures on Public International Law, Human Rights and Transport Law at Eduardo Mondlane University, as from 1992, and is a resource person at seminars and conferences. He has written and presented different papers such as "Judiciary Cooperation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)", Luanda 2012, "Accountability of 1994 Rwanda genocide suspects in Southern Africa: The Mozambican perspective", Johannesburg 2011; "The legal environment for regional integration: an introduction to SADC legal instruments and community law", Maputo 2008; "Childhood poverty in Mozambique: A situation and trends analysis". UNICEF, Maputo 2006.
From 1998 to 2007, he served as Resident Representative for AWEPA (1972-1973) and a Professor at the International Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA).
Source: African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, 2015
New Judges appointed to the African Court
During its 25th Ordinary Session held from 24 to 25 June 2014, the Executive Council of the African Union re-elected Justice Sylvain Oré (Côte d’Ivoire), and at its 23rd Ordinary Session held from 26 to 27 June, 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union re-appointed him for a six year term.
The Executive Council also elected three new Judges who were appointed by the Assembly for the same term.
The new Judges are:
The new Judges will replace Lady Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (current President) from Ghana and Justice Bernard M. Ngoepe (current Vice President) from South Africa, who have served the statutory two terms required by the Protocol establishing the Court, and are thus not eligible for re-appointment, as well as Justice Kimelabalou Aba (Togo), who was not re- elected.
The new Judges will be sworn-in at a public sitting of the Court, on 8 September 2014, at the Seat of the Court in Arusha, Tanzania, in accordance with Rule 2(1) of the Rules of Court.
- Nominations and election of judges to the African Court
- Tenure of African Court Judges
- Candidates for new judges election in July 2010
- Profile Judge Gérard Niyungeko
- Profile Judge Modibo Tounty Guindo
- Profile Judge Sophia Akuffo
- Profile Judge Hamdi Fanoush
- Profile Judge El Hadji Guissé
- Profile Judge Joseph Nyamihana Mulenga
- Profile Judge Kelello Mafoso-Guni