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DR Congo now ratifies African Court Protocol

Sunday December 13 2020
Congo pic

Arusha. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has ratified the African Court protocol bringing the signatory countries to 31.

The giant country in the heart of Africa deposited its instrument of ratification at the African Union (AU) on Tuesday this week.

“The DRC has taken another grand step to safeguard human and people’s rights,” said Justice Sylvain Ore, the President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR).

He strongly encouraged the country to take “one more bold step” to safeguard human and people’s rights in Africa by making another declaration.

This, he said, is the Declaration under Article 34 (6) to allow non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals to access the court directly.

Justice Ore reiterated his call to other AU member states that have not yet ratified the protocol for the establishment of AfCHPR to do so.

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Tanzania, alongside the rest of the East African Community (EAC) partner states, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan, has ratified the document.

As of to date, only six of 31 state parties to the protocol have deposited the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases directly from NGOs and individuals.

The six are Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi and Tunisia. Rwanda and Tanzania withdrew from the Declaration in 2016 and 2019 respectively.

The Court was established to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights with the view to enhance protection of human rights. Its establishment is anchored on Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights also with the same mandate.

The judicial organ of the AU came into being in 1998 following the signing of its creation by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) member countries in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The Court officially started operations in November 2006, initially in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to Arusha, its permanent seat, a year later.

In addition to the ratification of the Protocol, states have to make a Declaration required under Article 34(6) of the Protocol to allow individuals and NGOs to bring cases directly before the Court.

Without such a declaration, the Court would have no jurisdiction over cases brought by individuals and NGOs.

The Protocol was adopted on 9 June 1998 in Burkina Faso and came into force on 25 January 2004.

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By Zephania [email protected] [email protected]

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