Lady Justice Imani D. Aboud, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has revealed that recent developments in Africa’s socio-political and legal landscape unequivocally demand that African leaders reaffirm their commitment to justice.
“Whether to terrorism, armed conflicts, famine, political violence, under development, or poverty, justice continue to stand as the agreed solution.
“In fact, and as Agenda 2063 clearly acknowledges, the aim of government is human development through social justice. It can therefore not be denied that judges and courts have a role to play in achieving development justice whether by enforcing political, socio-economic or development rights,” Lady Justice Aboud stated.
Lady Justice Aboud stated during the Judicial Dialogue organised by the African Court, for the three regional courts African Court, the East African Court of Justice, and the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Tanzania.
The African Court President explained that the way for African Governments to reaffirm commitments to justice was through legal and judicial knowledge sharing.
“In other words, to best administer justice on legal issues that are insistently becoming global yet with the domestic application, we judge, and courts need to engage in consistent trading of legal and judicial solutions.
“This is imperative to best resolve issues that are international or foreign in nature, but which are increasingly landing in African countries and communities through globalisation.”
Lady Justice Aboud said, “I name terrorism and its socio-political and economic consequences, but I also name pandemics, technology, social media; and more structural questions such as free and fair elections, governance and states cooperation with international human rights courts and tribunals.”
On the purpose of the judicial dialogue, the African Court President said Judicial dialogue had become a critical tool to achieve justice in an increasingly globalised world.
“The purpose and gains of the judicial dialogue are now established, and undeniable. Yet, a dual question remains topical and current: how to undertake judicial dialogue and what to dialogue about?
“There is no doubt that judicial dialogue has for long been part of the practice of domestic courts through case-law borrowing,”
She said the judicial dialogue had also been shaped at the regional level in Africa, and all of us are now much involved in and part of the decade-old African Judicial Dialogue which is established as a tradition that we perform every two years from both vertical and horizontal perspectives.
Lady Justice Aboud recounted that the gathering of November 2021, in Dar es Salaam offered the justices an opportunity to celebrate a decade of continental judicial dialogue in Africa.
She said the Dar dialogue brought about some daring, provocative and challenging debates about how technology had invaded public discourse and therefore demands adjustment to judicial dialogue and administration of justice.
“We also had an opportunity to restate some of the commitments made 10 years ago in Arusha; commitments to main tenets of constitutional democracy such as the rule of law, judicial independence, separation of powers, and protection of fundamental rights,” the African Court President stated.