African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

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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 Representatives’ Committee (PRC). The adoption of the Decision has turned the recommendations into binding AU decisions or directives (see Executive Council Rules of Procedure, Rule 34 and Art. 23(2) of the Constitutive Act of the AU). This post reflects on the political motivations for, the legality of, and potential implications of three of these decisions or directives, namely: The decision to review the interpretative mandate of the ACHPR “in light of a similar mandate exercised by the African Court [on Human and Peoples’ Rights] and the potential for conflicting jurisprudence”; The directive to the ACHPR to align its guidelines for granting observer status to NGOs with “the already existing criteria on the accreditation of NGOs to the…

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African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Delivers Landmark Ruling on Women’s Rights and the Rights of the Child in Mali

Introduction On 11 May 2018 the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (‘the Court’) issued its ruling in the case of Association Pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes Maliennes (APDF) and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) v Mali. This is the first judgment of the…

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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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Resignation of Mugabe: A Military Coup or a Legitimate Expression of the People’s Will?

On 15 November 2017, following a rule of 37 years since the independence of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the army. A military spokesman appeared on state television to declare that the president was safe and that they were only “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and…

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The Ogiek Case of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Not So Much News After All?

On Friday, May 26, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) delivered its long-awaited judgement on the expulsion of the Ogiek people, a Kenyan hunter-gatherer community, from their ancestral lands in the Mau forest. As the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) did not manage to settle the conflict, it was…

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