Justice Imani Daud Aboud, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has explained that the continental Court was established as a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the Charter to complement and reinforce the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission-often referred to as the Banjul Commission).
It was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol).
Lady Justice Aboud stated during an engagement with Justice Carmel Agius, President of the United Nations -Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (UN-MICT) in Arusha, Tanzania, as monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
The two bodies used the occasion to update each other on the ongoing judicial activities of the two international courts.
She recounted that the Protocol establishing the African Court was adopted on June 9th, 1998 in Burkina Faso and came into force on January 25th, 2004 after it was ratified by more than 15 countries.
On the mandate of the African Court, Lady Justice Aboud said the African Court applies the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights instruments ratified by the States concerned. It does not have criminal jurisdiction like the International Criminal Court.
She said the mission of the African Court is to enhance the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights by strengthening the human rights protection system in Africa.
The African Court President said it also ensures respect for and compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as other international human rights instruments, through judicial decisions.
On the part of the UN-MICT, its President Agius used the platform to discuss the work of the Mechanism, focusing on its pending judicial activity and areas of possible future collaboration a document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.
The Judges were also briefed by representatives of the Mechanism’s Registry on other areas of the Mechanism’s work and had the opportunity.
Justice Agius explained that the UN-MICT is mandated to perform several essential functions previously carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR”) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”).
The UN-MICT carries out these essential functions the Mechanism maintains the legacies of these two pioneering ad hoc international criminal courts and strives to reflect best practices in the field of international criminal justice.
The United Nations Security Council created the Mechanism on December 22, 2010 as a “small, temporary and efficient structure”.
The Mechanism started operating on July 1st, 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania, and on July 1st, 2013 in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Arusha branch inherited functions from the ICTR and the Hague branch from the ICTY.
During the initial years of the Mechanism’s existence, it operated in parallel with the ICTR and the ICTY. Following the closure of the ICTR (December 31st, 2015) and the ICTY (December 31st, 2017), the Mechanism continued to operate as a stand-alone institution.