Arusha-based African Court faces tough times

November 14, 2015 8:01 am
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75 per cent of the court’s funding comes from development partners---the World Bank, European Union and GIZ. Photo/FILE.
75 per cent of the court’s funding comes from development partners—the World Bank, European Union and GIZ. Photo/FILE.
ARUSHA, Tanzania, Nov 14 – The Arusha-based African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is facing acute financial crisis which is stalling its operations.

The continental court’s president Justice Augustino Ramadhani the court is “in a big financial problem”.

At the moment, he said, the court is only able to cater for salaries of its employees and is not allowed to exceed its budget by more than five percent—making it difficult to operate smoothly.

75 per cent of the court’s funding comes from development partners—the World Bank, European Union and GIZ.

The continental court was established by Member States of the African Union with the sole aim of enhancing the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.

So far, only 28 African countries are state parties to the protocol ratifying the court’s establishment out of the 54 African counties.

“That is why I am urging African counties which have not ratified the protocol to do so to give the court more support,” he told journalists in Arusha last week.

“We are talking to Heads of State and ministers from countries which have not ratified the protocol to do so,” the President said on the sidelines of the second African Judicial Dialogue that brought Chief Justices and top judges from across Africa.

“I was recently in South Africa where I talked to the Association of Lawyers to push for the ratification,”

And as the court prepares to mark its ten years of existence next year, several states including Kenya are yet to ratify the protocol establishing it.

“A court cannot be built in a decade…we will be marking 10 years of existence next year,”
The Court has eleven judges who are nationalities of member states of the African Union but elected in their individual capacity.

The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions, although there are Extra-ordinary Sessions convened by the President, or at the request of a majority of the Members of the Court.

As at October 2015, documents at the court’s Registry show that the Court had received 59 individual applications of which 21 have been finalized with four transferred to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

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