On Saturday 14 July 2012, at its 21st Ordinary Session, the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) reelected Justice Gérard Niyungeko, and elected Ben Kioko and El Hadji Guissé as Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights for a six (6) year term each. They were appointed by the 19th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU on 16 July, 2012.
Justice Gérard Niyungeko (Burundi) was one of the first Judges of the Court elected in 2006 for a six (6) year term. He served as the first President of the Court from 2006-2008, and was re-elected for a second term as President of the Court for the period September 2010 to September2012.
Justice El Hadji Guissé (Senegal) was elected as a Judge of the Court for the first time in 2006 for a four (4) year term which expired in 2010. Justice Ben Kioko (Kenya) was until 31 May 2012, the Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The newly elected Judges will be sworn in during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Court in September 2012.
The Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights are elected after nomination by their respective States, in their individual capacities, from among African jurists of proven integrity and of recognized practical, judicial or academic competence and experience in the field of human and peoples’ rights.
The Court is composed of eleven Judges elected for a six (6) year term renewable only once. The first Judges of the Court were elected in January 2006, in Khartoum, Sudan and were sworn in before the 7th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union on 2 July 2006, in Banjul, The Gambia.
The Judges of the Court elect a President and Vice-President of the Court among themselves for a two (2) year term renewable once. The current Vice-President of the Court is Lady Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Ghana).