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African Court on Human and People’s Rights meets over international criminal cases

COUNTIES
By Rawlings Otieno | November 19th 2013

By Rawlings Otieno

Kenya: The African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) is considering the option of including international crimes in its jurisdiction.

This means that, if the charter establishing the court is ratified, the court will among other things hear cases touching on international crimes currently being handled only by The Hague based ICC.

Currently a seminar on judicial dialogue between the African Court and national judiciaries organised by ACHPR is taking place in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Seminar brings together Chief Justices and Presidents of Supreme and Constitutional Courts and other representatives of national jurisdictions of African Union (AU) member states as well as members of African sub-regional courts and continental institutions of the African human rights system.

The court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said the objective of the judicial dialogue was to enhance discussions between institutions to ensure protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.

Lay groundwork

“We must ensure that there is protection of human and people’s rights in Africa. The African Court of Human and People Rights should consider including cases that touch on international crimes in its jurisdiction,” said Kikwete.

The President of ACHPR Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo said that although the dialogue was aimed at enhancing human rights protection at the various levels, it will lay the groundwork for future dialogue on the overall transformational role that judicial institutions can play in AU member states and their regional and continental institutions.

Regarding the objectives of the Seminar, Kikwete said that it was important to share lessons on the African Court and ACHPR as the two institutions complemented each other in the protection of human and peoples’ rights.

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