ARUSHA, Jun 30 – East African Community (EAC) Partner States have been challenged to make declaration to allow Non-Governmental Organisations and individuals file cases before the Arusha-based African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR).
Addressing a 30-member delegation of Kenya’s International Peace Keeping Training Centre (IPSTC) and the National Steering Committee (NSC), the AfCHPR’s President Justice Augustino Ramadhani said that the African Court was based in East Africa and the region’s nations should take a lead in ratifying and making a Declaration to allow individuals, NGOs an other entities to bring cases directly to the court.
”Without such a declaration, the court will have no jurisdiction over cases brought by individuals and NGOs,” he told the delegation made up of diplomats, top ranking security officials, civil societies, NGOs and religious officials, among others.
”I feel ashamed sometimes to see that EA countries have not made a declaration when the court is in its vicinity,” he quipped.
He added that it was only Tanzania and Rwanda of the five EAC member states which have ratified the protocol and made the declaration as required under Article 34(6) of the protocol establishing the court. Other EAC member states are: Kenya, Uganda and Burundi.
The former Tanzania’s Chief Justice also explained that as to date, only 28 of the 54 AU member states have ratified the protocol.
The States are: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’ivore, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali and Mauritius.
Others are: Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Uganda, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Tunisia.
Justice Ramadhani reiterated other countries which have not ratified the protocol should do so.
The African Court was established by AU member states to enhance the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.
The court is premised temporarily at the headquarters of the Tanzania National Parks in Burka area.