African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights delegation led by its President, Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, is on a two-day visit to Comoros to engage the government to deepen the frontiers of human rights protection.
The visit is to raise awareness of the Pan African Judicial Organ and to encourage the government of Comoros to deposit the Special Declaration to allow individuals and others to access the African Court directly.
The African Court delegation includes Justice Blaise Tchikaya, Vice President of the Court; Deputy Registrar Nouhou Diallo, and key Registry staff.
Comoros acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on December 23, 2013, but is yet to make the Special Declaration under Article 34(6).
Comoros is among 25 States, including Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, and Rwanda, which have ratified the Protocol but are yet to deposit the Special Declaration.
Lady Justice Aboud, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, reminded other States which had not ratified the Protocol and made the Special Declaration do so.
Eight states have taken the bold step and accepted the competence of the African Court and deposited the Declarations in accordance with Article 34 (6) to allow individuals and NGOs to directly file cases to the African Court.
They are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Niger, and Tunisia.
Lady Justice Aboud noted that the African Court served as the judicial arm of the African Union and one of the three regional human rights courts together with the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human rights.
She said the African Continental Court existed to protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa, principally through the delivery of judgments.
She said the mandate of the African Court was to complement and reinforce the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission – often referred to as the Banjul Commission), which is a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the Charter.
The African Court President noted that the African Court applied the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights instruments ratified by the States concerned, “it does not have criminal jurisdiction like the International Criminal Court.”
She said the African Court based its core values on the African Charter and other internationally recognized principles of human rights and the promotion of the rule of law.
Lady Justice Aboud noted that the African Court continued to foster and uphold the core values of judicial independence from any partisanship, bias or influence, whether from States, NGOs, funding agencies or individuals.
“Fair and impartial application and interpretation of the provisions of the African Charter, the Protocol, the Rules, and other relevant international human rights instruments.
“Transparent and ethical accountability in the operations of the Court. Fundamental rights of every individual to enjoy basic civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights are upheld,” she said.