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 Welcome to the African Court

The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Court) is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

The Court 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) which was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004.

 The 30 States which have ratified the Protocol are: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

As of November 2020, only six (6) of the thirty (30) State Parties to the Protocol had deposited the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases directly from NGOs and individuals. The six States are: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi and Tunisia.*

The 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, (the Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned. Specifically, the Court has two types of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory.

The Court is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union. The first Judges of the Court were elected in January 2006 in Khartoum, Sudan. They 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 are elected, after nomination by their respective States, in their individual capacities, from among African jurists of proven integrity and of recognised practical, judicial or academic competence and experience in the field of human rights. The Judges are elected for a six year term, renewable once. The Judges of the Court elect from among themselves, a President and Vice-President of the Court who serve a two year term. They can be re-elected only once. The President of the Court resides and works on a full time basis at the seat of the Court, while the other ten (10) Judges work on a part-time basis. In the accomplishment of his/her duties, the President is assisted by a Registrar who performs registry, managerial and administrative functions of the Court.

The Court officially started its operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2006, and in August 2007 it moved to its seat in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania. Between 2006 and 2008, the Court dealt principally with operational and administrative issues, including the development of the structure of the Court's Registry, preparation of its budget and drafting of its Interim Rules of Procedure. In 2008, during the Court's Ninth Ordinary Session, the Court adopted the Interim Rules of Court, pending consultation with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, in order to harmonise their rules. This harmonisation process was completed in April 2010, and in June 2010, the Court adopted its Final Rules of Court.

The Court may receive cases filed by the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights, State parties to the Protocol or African Intergovernmental Organisations. Non-Governmental Organisations with observer status before the African Commission and individuals can also institute cases directly before the Court as long as the state against which they are complaining has deposited the Article 34(6) declaration recognising the jurisdiction of the Court to accept cases from individuals and NGOs.

 *Rwanda withdrew its declaration in 2017; Tanzania in 2019; Côte d’Ivoire and Benin in 2020.

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      Arusha, 30 October, 2020: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will begin its 59th Ordinary Session on Monday, 2 November 2020. The four-week Session will stretch up to 27 November 2020.




      Arusha, 05 October 2020: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights WHEREAS on 18 May 2020, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights suspended the computation of all the time limits that were currently in progress before the Court, effective from 1 May to 31 July 2020 inclusive, excluding computation of time in relation to requests for Provisional Measures [...]




      Arusha, 28 September 2020: The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is pleased to announce to the general public the publication of its revised Rules of Court, adopted on 1 September 2020, which entered into force on 25 September 2020. These Rules replace the 2010 Rules of Court.


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      Arusha, 25 September 2020: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights today delivered seven Judgments at the close of its four-week 58th Ordinary Session. This Session was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


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    Phone:+255-27 2970430

    Physical Address
    African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights
    Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Conservation Centre
    Dodoma Road
    P.O. Box 6274 Arusha, TANZANIA