The German International Cooperation supports the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights since April 2008. During its first phase the project supported among other things the setting-up of the Court’s library and electronic communication systems, training for staff and participation of Judges and staff of the Court in various conferences. In August 2010 the project entered into its second phase that primarily focuses on supporting the Court in outreach activities aimed at strengthening its visibility in the African civil society, its relation to relevant stakeholders for the protection and promotion of human rights in Africa and enhancing the process of ratification of the Protocol on the Establishment of the Court. Within that framework, GIZ supported among other activities the first continental conference on the promotion of the Court, held in Lilongwe/Malawi in March 2011.
The African Court collaborates with its sister Courts, the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The three institutions lay the groundwork for their collaboration during the First Colloquium of the African, European and Inter-American Human Rights Courts which was held from 3-7 August in Berlin, Germany. As a result there have been more structured staff exchanges, information sharing and general collaboration. Further, the African Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights now have a Memorandum of understanding to guide their collaboration.
The Court benefits from support from the European Union Commission through a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the latter and the African Union Commission. The focus of the support is for the Court’s institutional strengthening and capacity building including through development of the Court’s Strategic Plan and Operational Plans.
There are Courts and Tribunals of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa. Some of them have human rights mandates even though they were primarily established to adjudicate on economic integration matters. These include the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja, Nigeria, the Court of Justice of the Common Market of East and Southern Africa in Lusaka, Zambia and the Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community in Windhoek, Namibia.
Almost all African countries have a Bill of Rights section in their Constitutions and the primacy of national Courts in the protection of human rights, they are important players in this field.
It is in cognisance of this that the Court has spearheaded the establishment of the Human Rights Network. This network was established as an outcome of the First Colloquium of African Human Rights Courts and Similar Institutions which the African Court hosted from 4 to 6 October 2010 in Arusha Tanzania. The network is dedicated to promoting the protection of human rights in Africa through judicial and quasi-judicial institutions. Click here to see the final communiqué of this First Colloquium. The Colloquium will be held biennially, bringing together the African Union Institutions with a human rights mandate, RECs Courts and Tribunals and national Courts.
1st Colloquium of the African Human Rights Courts and Similar Institutions held From 4 to 6 October 2010 at the Corridor Springs Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania.