Pan-African Parliament Poke into the Business of the African Court

The Pan African Parliament has rolled-out a comprehensive advocacy and research modules to delve into the operations of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which would in the long run strengthen the Courts capacity .

The Pan African Parliament through the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) would undertake series of activities including working visit to the African Court, at Arusha, Tanzania to gather information on its operations.

Mr Rasheed Draman, ACEPA Executive Director old the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) based in Accra in an interview that, “The Pan African Parliament is interested in the status of ratification, challenges the Continental Court is facing, as well as implementation difficulties”.

He said the ultimate aim of the project was to gather operational information to feed the Pan African Parliament.

Mr Draman said the information gathered would form the basis for the Continental Parliament’s intervention as an institution which has an advisory role as well as mobilize other key stakeholders to ensure that the African Court gets the needed support.

The ACEPA Executive Director commended the Justices of the African Court as well as the staff, who had exposed the ACEPA team to the internal operations of the African Continental Court. The ACEPA Team to the African Court also included Mr Issifu L. Ampo.

The African Court is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The African Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Protocol) which was adopted by Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004.

As at July 2017, only eight of the 30 States Parties to the Protocol had made the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals.

The eight States are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi , Tanzania and Rep. of Tunisia.

The 30 States which have ratified the Protocol are: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

The African Court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned. Specifically, the Court has two types of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory.

The Pan African Parliament was established as an organ the African Union (AU) in order to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent. The first Parliament was inaugurated on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and its headquarters is in Midrand, South Africa.

The ultimate aim of the Pan African Parliament is to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage.

The new protocol granting these powers has been adopted by the AU and is currently under ratification by member states. However until such a time that the new protocol comes into force, the Pan African Parliament shall have consultative and advisory powers within the AU.

AU Member States are represented at the Pan African Parliament by five Parliamentarians, at least one of whom must be a woman. The representation of each Members State must reflect the diversity of political opinions in each National Parliament or other deliberative organ.

The African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) is an African not-for-profit organization registered in Ghana.

It is dedicated to building the capacity of African Parliaments and elected representative bodies at all levels of governance.

ACEPA supports African countries in ensuring effective performance throughout the governance chain – from local to national representative institutions.

ACEPA has excellent working relationships with more than 20 African countries/Parliaments.

ACEPA is the first African institution that is dedicated to supporting national and sub-national Legislatures across the continent and was created to respond to the urgent need for an indigenous African institution that truly understands the needs and demands of African Legislatures.

The main objective of ACEPA is to provide capacity building support to elected representative institutions at all levels of governance in Africa as well as Civil Society Organizations.
Source: CDA Consult

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