African court suspends cases until August

Monday May 25 2020


By Zephania Ubwani @TheCitizenTZ

 The African Court on Human and Peo-ple’s Rights (AfCHPR) has suspended hearing of some cases until August due to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure includes all pending cases at the merits and reparations stages, the Arusha-based quasi-judicial organ of the African Union (AU) has said.

 It said it was abiding to measures already taken by the AU and its organs against the pandemic currently ravaging the world, leading to travel restrictions.

“It is imperative for the court to collaborate in these efforts to combat the pandemic,” it said in a statement to the media.

The court deliberated on the matter during its virtual meeting held on May 14, this year, two months after the Africa started to feel the hit of the pandemic.

During the meeting, the Court took cognisance of the fact that the measures taken by the AU member states may affect the procedural activity before the court.

The measures include suspending the computation of all the time limits that are currently in progress before this court from May 1 to July 31, 2020 inclusive.


This, the statement said, includes all pending cases at the merits and reparations stage(s), reporting on implementation of judgments and advisory opinions. “For the avoidance of doubt, the suspension of time limits does not apply to Provisional Measures,” the statement availed to The Citizen further said.


It noted that the suspension would continue until July 31“when it shall decide on the necessity of continuing with the measure”.



For the first time in its nearly two decades of operations, the Judges of the African Court met virtually on May 4 to discuss the impact of the ongoing Covid-19.


The court resolved to hold the session virtually and instructed the registrar to take all necessary measures to ensure the smooth organisation and conduct of the session.


It expressed solidarity with the governments and African people as they grapple with Covid-19, noting that “even in the midst of a pandemic, justice and respect for human rights must never be compromised”.


AfCHPR is composed of 11 (eleven) Judges, nationals of AU member states, elected in their individual capacity... It meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions