The African Union

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‘Victim of its commitment … You, passerby, a tear to the proclaimed virtue’: Should the epitaph of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights be prepared?

In a letter dated 21 April, the Government of Benin informed the African Union of its decision to withdraw the declaration made under Article 34(6) of the Ouagadougou Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. As the Court recalled in its first judgment, direct referral by an individual or an NGO is subject to the deposit by the respondent State of a special declaration, under Article 34(6), authorizing such referral. Thus, by this withdrawal, Benin, even if it remains a party to the Court, now deprives private individuals of any direct recourse to the Court. The withdrawal of the Benin Declaration comes the day after a Court ordered the suspension of the communal elections scheduled for 17 May 2020 in the country, following a request by an opponent of the ruling government, Mr Sebastien Ajavon. While affirming that there is no immediate link between the two events, the spokesperson for the Beninese government justified his country’s decision by “the repeated slippages noted” of the African Court of Human and…

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ICC Appeals Chamber Holds that Heads of State Have No Immunity Under Customary International Law Before International Tribunals

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has, this morning, issued what seems to be an extremely controversial decision on Head of State Immunity. At the time of writing, the full written judgment is not yet available in the appeal by Jordan against the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber referring that state to the UN Security…

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Looking for Middle Ground on the Immunity of Al-Bashir? Take the Third ‘Security Council Route’

On 10-14 September, the Appeals Chamber (AC) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) held hearings in the appeal of Jordan against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) II entitled ‘Decision under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute on the non-compliance by Jordan with the request by the Court for the arrest and surrender o[f] Omar Al-Bashir’ of…

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The Rise and Rise of Political Backlash: African Union Executive Council’s decision to review the mandate and working methods of the African Commission

The latest African Union (AU) Summit, held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, from 25 June to 2 July 2018, has left the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) severely undermined. The Executive Council adopted Decision EX.CL/Dec.1015(XXIII), which endorses some worrying recommendations that emanated from the joint retreat, held in June, by the ACHPR and the Permanent…

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Two Times Too Many: Botswana and the Death Penalty

Without wanting to trivialise the hard work needed to litigate human rights cases, it is often implementation that is considered the pinnacle of achievement. Put simply, it is one thing to convince a commission or court that a countries’ policies or actions contravene a human rights instrument, it is quite another for that country to implement the decision.

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