African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

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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 economic suffering”. He further noted that this was not a military coup. Mugabe resisted stepping down for a week but then finally resigned on 21 November when the Parliament initiated impeachment proceedings. Mnangagwa, the former Vice-President, who was fired by Mugabe only a week before the military intervention, was sworn in as president on 24 November, and the military granted Mugabe immunity from prosecution. As will be discussed below, the African Union (AU) has adopted an uncompromising approach towards military coups. However, in the very recent case of Zimbabwe it preferred a more cautious stance, which stands in contrast with its previous practice. The Zimbabwe episode demonstrates two important things. Firstly, the event proves that the…

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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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The Successes and Challenges for the European Court, Seen from the Outside

Laurence R. Helfer is the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law and Co-director of the Center for International and Comparative Lawat Duke University. Cross-posted on AJIL Unbound. In this post I wish to address the successes and challenges for the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), as…

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