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AFRICAN COURT JUDGES HOLD VIRTUAL MEETING

Tuesday, 05 May 2020 12:17

Group pix Judges

Arusha, 4 May 2020: The Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights met virtually today to discuss the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the work of the Court and measures put in place to ensure safety of staff and business continuity of the Court.

The meeting, which was attended by all eleven Judges, began with the observance of a minute silence in honour of late Hon. Justice Augustino Ramadhani, a former President of the Court, who passed away on 28 April 2020 in Dar es Salaam and Hon. Dr Augustine Mahiga, Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, who died on 1 May 2020 in the Capital City of Dodoma. The Court noted with appreciation that the President, Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore, was invited to and did represent the Court at the funeral of late Justice Ramadhani. 

The meeting discussed a number of issues, including measures put in place with a view to ensuring that the Court continues to discharge its mandate while giving paramount consideration to the safety of Judges, staff and other Court users, the organization of the 57th Ordinary Session of the Court, and the withdrawals by the Republics of Benin and Côte d’Ivoire of their Article 34(6) declarations, which recognized the jurisdiction of the Court to receive cases directly from individuals and NGOs with observer status before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

On the working conditions of staff at the Registry, the Court commended the Registry COVID-19 Task Force led by the Registrar of the Court for the measures put in place to ensure staff safety and business continuity, and urged the Registrar to remain vigilant and not hesitate to take further measures as necessary.

On the organization of its 57th Ordinary Session, the Court resolved to hold the session virtually from 1 to 26 June 2020, and instructed the Registrar to take all necessary measures to ensure the smooth organization and conduct of the session. The Court considered the draft agenda of the session and decided to formally adopt it at the beginning of the session.

On the decision of both Benin and Côte d’Ivoire to withdraw their Article 34(6) Declarations, the Court expressed concern and deeply regretted the action of the two States.  It reiterated its commitment to independence, objectivity and loyalty in the discharge of its mandate. 

The Court expressed solidarity with the Governments and peoples of Africa during this difficult moment and noted that even in the midst of a pandemic, justice and respect for human rights must never be compromised.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1.  The Court is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.

2. The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.

 

Further information on the Court can be obtained from the Court’s website at www.african-court.org.
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African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights
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