Background & Structure

Who We Are

The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court Coalition) is a network of non-governmental organisations and independent national human rights institutions which was formed during the first conference for the promotion of the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Niamey, Niger in May 2003.

The key purpose for its establishment is to have an effective and independent African Court in order to provide redress to victims of human rights violations and strengthen the human rights protection system in Africa.

The Coalition was formally registered as an NGO in Tanzania in September 2007. Its main office is in Arusha, where the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is also based.

The Coalition has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Coalition) envisages a continent where victims of human rights violations have access to justice.

The Coalition’s mission is to ensure that the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is effective, accessible and credible through training, education, information documentation and dissemination, research, advocacy, lobbying and networking.

The Coalition believes in access to justice for all, particularly individuals and an independent judicial body.

In light of the complimentary relationship between the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) and the African Court, the Coalition aims to ensure that the African Commission is strengthened.

Promote the ratification of texts relating to the African Court by all member states of the AU;

Promote the rights of individuals and organisations to refer matters directly to the African Court by encouraging states to make the declaration as stipulated in Article 34(6) of the protocol creating the African Court; and similar provisions in the single legal instrument establishing the African Court of Justice and Human Rights;

Advocate for an independent and credible African Court including a transparent process for the nomination and election of judges to the African Court, which guarantees an equitable representation of the African judicial systems and gender parity in the nomination and election of judges; and

Provide technical support for entities wishing to make use of the African Court to protect human and peoples’ rights.

Contribute to the strengthening of the human rights system.

Our Background

The initiative began as a loose network with two secretariats housed at Alliances for Africa (Lagos) and the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (Johannesburg) in 2004. It comprised a Management Committee made up of representatives from nine NGOs, namely:

  1. The Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (North Africa focal point)
  2. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (East Africa focal point)
  3. Association pour les Droits de l’homme et l’univers Carcéral (Central Africa focal point)
  4. Legal Assistance Centre (Southern Africa focal point)
  5. The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS – AU Liaison)
  6. Rencontre Africaine pour le Defense de Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO) (West Africa focal point)
  7. Open Society Justice Initiative (AU liaison)
  8. Cape Verdean Association of Women Lawyers (Portuguese-speaking Africa advisor)
  9. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (Focal point for National Human Rights Institutions).

Our Structure

  • General Assembly
    The General Assembly is the highest policy-making body which meets every three years to elect the Executive Committee and Focal Points.

  • Executive Committee
    The Executive Committee comprising of 8 members, provides guidance on policy and strategic advocacy to the Secretariat and oversight on activities.

The current Executive Committee consists of the following member organizations: 

  1. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Chairperson)
  2. Centre pour la Promotion de la Démocratie et le Défense des Droits de I’Homme (Deputy Chairperson)
  3. Avocats Sans Frontières (Senegal)
  4. Centre des Droits de l’Homme et du Développement
  5. East Africa Law Society
  6. Pan-African Lawyers Union
  7. Southern Africa Litigation Centre
  8. Tanganyika Law Society
  • Sub-Committees:
    Finance and Administration Sub-Committee:
  1. East Africa Law Society
  2. Pan-African Lawyers Union
  3. Tanganyika Law Society
  • Membership Sub-Committee:
  1. Centre des Droits de l’Homme et du Développement
  2. Southern Africa Litigation Centre
  • Legal Affairs Sub-Committee:
  1. Avocats Sans Frontières-Senegal
  2. Pan-African Lawyers Union
  • Secretariet:

The Secretariat which is based in Arusha, Tanzania, has a team structured with one department and three programs: The Finances and Administration Department, Advocacy and Capacity Building Program, Researches, Litigations and Publications Program and Internship Program.

The Focal Points and the Secretariat constitute the implementing arm of the Coalition.

Focal Points

There are five geographical Focal Points of Africa, namely East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, North Africa and two thematic focal points, namely National Human Rights Institutions and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Focal points, in addition to attending events at AU level, will also attend summits and pre-summit civil society activities of the Regional Economic Communities in order to raise awareness on the African Court, to recruit members from the sub-region and raise key issues relating to the protection of human and peoples’ rights.

The current Focal Points are as follows:

1. Centre d’Information et de Documentation sur les Droits de l’Enfant et de la Femme, Algiers, Algeria (North Africa)

2. Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia, Luanda, Angola (Lusophone)

3. Association de Droits de l’Homme et l’Univers Carcéral, Brazzaville, Congo (Central Africa)

4. Somaliland Lawyers Association, Hargeisa, Somaliland (East Africa)

5. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, Banjul, the Gambia (National Human Rights Institutions)

6. Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Lagos, Nigeria (West Africa)

7. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Harare, Zimbabwe (Southern Africa)

Constitution and Strategic Plan

The Coalition’s Constitution was adopted and the organization was formally registered as an NGO in Tanzania in September 2007.