The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has dismissed a case filed against the United Republic of Tanzania by John Martin Marwa who is a Tanzanian. The African Court however ordered that each Party should bear its own costs.
African Court in its ruling in the case involving John Martin Marwa versus the United Republic of Tanzania application no. 021/2017 on jurisdiction and admissibility, obtained by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
According to the ruling John Martin Marwa (the Applicant) who is a national of Tanzania (the Respondent State) is a schoolteacher and at the time of filing the Application, was serving 30 years’ imprisonment having been convicted of the offence of rape of an 18-year-old student.
The Applicant alleged that the Respondent State violated his right not to be discriminated against protected under Article 2 of the Charter; his right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law protected under Article 3(1) and (2) respectively of the Charter; and his right to have his cause heard protected under Article 7(1) of the Charter.
The African Court however ruled that on the admissibility of the Application, in particular, when considering whether the Application was filed within a reasonable time, it considered that although the Applicant was, at the material time, incarcerated, he had not provided the Court with compelling arguments and sufficient evidence to demonstrate that his personal situation prevented him from filing the Application in a more timely manner.
In view of the foregoing, the African Court found that the filing of the Application within six years and 12 days after exhaustion of local remedies was not a reasonable time within the meaning of Article 56(6) of the Charter and as restated in Rule 50(2)(f) of the Rules.
“Having found that the Application had not satisfied the requirement in Rule 50(2)(f) of the Rules, the Court declared the Application inadmissible as the conditions of admissibility of an Application filed before it are cumulative, such that if one condition is not fulfilled then the Application becomes inadmissible,” the African Court stated.
On reparations, the Applicant prayed the Court to restore justice where it was overlooked, quash both the conviction and the sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment imposed upon him and order his release from prison.
He further prayed the Court to grant any other orders that may be appropriate in the circumstances.
The Respondent State did not file any submissions in this Application and therefore the Court decided, in the interest of justice, to issue a Ruling in default.
Having found that its jurisdiction was not in contention, the African Court held that it had material, personal, temporal and territorial jurisdiction.
The African Court is a continental court established by African Union Member States to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.
The African Court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.