Dar es Salaam. Eighty percent of the cases filed and decided at the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR) are by Tanzanians, it has been revealed.
A total of 14 cases from five member states of the African Union, including Tanzania, have been reviewed and adjudicated by the continent’s tribunal in Dar es Salaam in the past one month, with eight of them being from Tanzanian individuals.
Other countries with appeals in the Court include Rwanda, Mali, Benin and Malawi.
The cases were heard during the 63rd session of the tribunal and reached climax on Thursday December 3, 2021.
The president of the tribunal, Lady Justice Imani Aboud, read out a review of the cases in collaboration with a panel of 11 other judges from 11 African nations, a process held for the first time in Dar es Salaam.
Even though Tanzania leads in the verdicts, the country has been hesitant to implement decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Tanzania has withdrawn from the Declaration made under Article 34 (6) of the Protocol on the African Charter for the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which allows individuals and non-governmental organisations to directly file cases before the court.
"People have been submitting their cases to the court because they are sure of justice which they do not get in the local courts. As it is, Tanzanians will not stop filling their cases in the African Court until Tanzania agrees to the protocol,” said Yusuf Mpanji, a lawyer based in Dar es Salaam.
Commenting on the verdicts, the Tanzania Human Rights Defender’s Coordinator, Onesmo Olengurumwa said all the Tanzanian cases filed in the court were from individuals.
Mr Olengurumwa, who is a lawyer by profession, said the eight cases involved human rights, including a case of deprivation of Tanzanian citizenship by a suspected Kenyan national.
"Many cases have been opened by Tanzanians because the presence of this court in the country has reduced the costs of opening a case because if this body was in another country it would have been more expensive," said Olengurumwa.
He explained the various procedures for filing a case in the court, including the defendant's submission of the case, to the African Human Rights Commission, which will refer the case to the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights.