African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

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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 seen from the outside.  I will take this opportunity to draw upon my research on human rights systems outside of Europe to explain how these systems have responded to some of the same challenges now facing the Council of Europe and the ECtHR.  My main contention is that international human rights courts, wherever they are located, require sustained political and material support if they are to thrive and grow over time. I will illustrate my points with examples from the Inter-American and African courts of human rights and from lesser-known courts of sub-regional legal systems in Africa—the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the…

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