World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Assembly's Decision Should Not Undermine Court

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI Index: IOR 30/020/2004 9 August 2004

African Union: Assembly's decision should not undermine the African Court

Amnesty International has written to the Chairman of the African Union (AU), President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, expressing grave concern about the future of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Court).

During its Third Ordinary Session in July, in Addis Ababa, the African Union's (AU) Assembly took a decision to integrate the African Court and the Court of Justice of the AU into one Court.

"This decision is inconsistent with an earlier decision taken by the AU Assembly in Maputo in July 2003, to the effect that the African Court 'shall remain separate and distinct from the Court of Justice of the African Union'," the organization said.

"This decision, if implemented, will further delay, undermine or stop the full establishment of an effective and functioning African Court," Amnesty International's Secretary General, Irene Khan warned in an open letter to President Obasanjo.

While the Court of Justice established under the AU Constitutive Act has jurisdiction to resolve disputes between member states that have ratified the Court's Protocol, the African Court is empowered to hear cases challenging violations of civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.

Furthermore, unlike the judges of the African Court who are required to be competent in human rights issues, the judges of the Court of Justice are only required to "possess the necessary qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices".

Amnesty International believes that the African Court is an essential mechanism that would increase the protection of human rights regionally and nationally. Since the African Court is supposed to work together with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Court could also contribute to the long-term effectiveness of the Commission.

"At a time when the human rights of individuals are under great pressure in the region, it is essential for the AU to ensure and maintain the integrity of the justice system it has established," Irene Khan said

The AU Chairman should "initiate consultations with member states , especially those that have ratified the African Court's Protocol and nominated judges to the Court, on the possible impact of the AU Assembly's decision on the protection of human rights on the continent. The full participation of civil society organizations, including human rights non-governmental organizations, in these consultations is essential for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of the African Court," Amnesty International said.

"We urge you to encourage AU member states to reaffirm their expressed commitments to the African Court, and to support the principles embodied in the Court's Protocol," Irene Khan told the AU Chairman. "AU member states should not allow the AU Assembly's decision to prejudice, restrict or weaken the essence of the African Court, which is to provide an effective remedy in individual cases."

Open Letter to the Chairman of the African Union (AU) seeking clarifications and assurances that the Establishment of an effective African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights will not be delayed or undermined:


You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news