The African Union

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The African Union’s Malabo Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection enters into force nearly after a decade. What does it mean for Data Privacy in Africa or beyond?

Introduction June 8 marks the entry into force of African Union’s Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection also known as Malabo Convention. This means the Convention came into force nine years after its adoption on June 27, 2014 and became the only binding regional treaty on data protection outside Europe. Following Mauritania’s ratification on May 9, 2023, the Convention entered into force officially thirty days after the date of receipt by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union of the fifteenth (15th) instrument of ratification as provided under article 36. The Malabo Convention is a framework convention which is meant to provide general rules and principles on three broad themes: Personal data protection; electronic commerce; and cybersecurity and cybercrimes in the continent. Put simply, it offers a holistic continent-wide framework to harmonize data protection policies in Africa by catalyzing digital rights, mainly data protection, privacy and internet freedom. This post seeks to explore the section on personal data protection and aims to shed some light…

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Western Sahara before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights:  Is there a “brother’s keeper” obligation for the Member States of the African Union?

In the current international context where States are ‘(re)discovering’ the virtue of international judicial litigation tools (before the ICJ or before the European Court of Human Rights), the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights was presented with a unique request against the backdrop of protecting the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people. The latter…

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Another One Bites the Dust: Côte d’Ivoire to End Individual and NGO Access to the African Court

On 29 April 2020, the government of Côte d’Ivoire issued a press statement announcing its decision to withdraw the right of individuals and NGOs to submit complaints directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the Court’). This right was granted in 2013, when it deposited a special declaration with the Court in accordance…

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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…

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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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