The President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Lady Justice Imani Aboud, has said that Africa needs justice and human rights as a necessary pillar in the effective pursuit of regional integration and human development.
Speaking at the retreat for the court and permanent representatives committee of the African Union in Arusha, Tanzania, last week, she said member states’ interest in the area of justice and human rights led to the establishment of many judicial and technical arms.
“The African Court was created by member states as the main judicial institution to pursue human rights justice in the continent. The court is therefore inextricably interlinked to achieving Agenda 2063,” she said.
She said the issues raised by four of the 10 African countries who recognized the jurisdiction of the court showed that perhaps this is time for the whole African Union to reflect on rethinking the human rights justice project embodied by the court by pointing where they want the court to be in the next 15 years.
“Doing so comes with the duty that the court should continue to operate as an African public service of justice.
“If this commitment is to be upheld, here are some leading principles which should inform an effective exercise of stocktaking and looking forward as to how the African Court should operate.
“And let me recall that the following are well-grounded not only in the Constitutive Act of the African Union, in the African Charter, and also in Agenda 2063.”
She said any prospective reflection on the protection of human rights can only be progressive and never regressive.
“In a continent which harshly endured slavery, colonisation and apartheid, human and peoples’ rights should remain the pillars of regional integration and human development of course, as well enshrined in Article 27(2) of the African Charter, general interest should prevail but never to the extent of eroding the very purpose of human rights.”