Arusha. Tanzania and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) are discussing how to clear cases filed before the Court by the host country’s nationals.
Many of the appeals were filed by applicants already serving long jail sentences after they were convicted by the local courts for a raft of crimes.
“We have to ensure the rights of those jailed are addressed so that they get the legal redress like any other”, said the Solicitor General Julius Mashamba.
Ordinarily, cases are filed before the African Court, a judicial organ of the African Union, after they are exhausted by the local courts of AU member states which are parties to the protocol that established AfCHPR. Dr Mashamba told reporters over the weekend after talks with the Court officials that the new legislation empowers the Judiciary to extend legal support to such convicts.
He said he had been informed there were 118 cases filed before the Court by Tanzanians, most of them imprisoned for murder with appeals turned down by the Court of Appeal.
According to Dr. Robert Eno, the Registrar of the Arusha-based Court, about 70 per cent of the pending cases at the Court had been filed by Tanzanian nationals.
This, he explained, does not necessarily associate Tanzania with violation of human and people’s rights.
“Rather it is due to increased sensitization of its people on the Court being a host country”, he said, noting that significant number of cases were made by convicts at the Kisongo prison in Arusha.
Tanzania, besides having ratified the protocol that established AfCHPR, has also signed a declaration allowing its NGOs and individuals to file cases directly to the Court.
The Court was established in 1998 and operationalized in 2006 to determine cases pertaining to violation of human and people’s rights in Africa.
Thirty two of the applications received have been disposed of, 32 others finalized and few others pending or transferred to the Banjul-based African Commission on People’s and Human Rights.
Tanzania ratified the protocol that established the Court on February 10th, 2006 and signed a declaration that allowed individuals and NGOs to access it directly on March 10th the same year.