Your Excellency Dr. Philip Isidor Mpango, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania,
Honourable Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, President of the African Court; Excellencies;
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen in your respective ranks and capacities, all protocol observed.
Honourable Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, President of the African Court, the Honourable Judges of the Court; Honourable Joseph Ndayisenga, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, apologizes for not being able to join you and has asked me to represent him in my capacity as member and Special Rapporteur on Child Justice of the said Committee.
Allow me to commend the Court for the tremendous work it is doing to ensure the implementation of the rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and for the organisation of the 2023 Judicial Year.
The theme for this occasion, “Integrating the jurisprudence of regional and international human rights mechanisms into national systems”, challenges us in more than one way by its relevance:
- It resonates with the priorities of our continent;
- It confirms the Court’s firm commitment to the objectives and principles set out in the Constitutive Act of the African Union and Agenda 2063, in the quest for a continent imbued with a universal culture of respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law;
- It revitalizes the regional integration process undertaken since 2015 by the African Union.
- It offers an opportunity for national systems to better know the significant jurisprudential experience of African and sub-regional jurisdictions.
I also commend the organs of the African Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Regional Economic Communities, Member States and various organisations and institutions for their tireless efforts in the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa in general and the rights of the child in particular.
The implementation of the Committee’s decisions depends on the effectiveness of its collaboration not only with the Court and the Commission, but also with other structures and organs of the African Union.
To foster greater continental judicial integration, greater synergy between our three human rights organs is required.
The joint retreat of our three organs in Maputo in 2022 was a forum to discuss our working methods and procedures, substantive and operational issues as well as best practices to improve our productivity. Areas of collaboration within our respective mandates were identified.
Special attention was paid to the strengthening of complementarity and synergy and to the harmonisation of jurisprudence.
The Committee remains firmly committed to working more closely with the Court and the Commission to consolidate this complementarity and harmonise jurisprudences.
To this end, the Committee has set up a database of relevant court decisions on children’s rights in each State party.
Good practices are already being rolled out. For example:
- Our Committee, in its procedure for the examination of communications submitted to it, refers to both the jurisprudence of the Court and of the Commission;
- Our Committee applies the doctrine of “lis pendens” by ensuring that a communication brought before it is neither “pending” before the Commission or the Court nor “settled” by them.
- The Court, in a decision of 1 December 2022, declared inadmissible an application on the grounds that it concerned a case already settled by the Committee at its 39th session.
In the course of its missions in the State Parties, the Committee has also noted that the Charter is invoked before domestic courts and that the judges of juvenile courts make reference to its provisions.
The Court, under the leadership of the Honourable Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, has requested the amendment of Article 5 (1) of the Protocol establishing the Court to include the Committee among the bodies entitled to submit cases directly to the Court.
This important initiative will further cement the collaboration between the three human rights organs of the African Union.
Honourable Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, Honourable Judges of the Court, on behalf of the Committee, I wish you every success in the 2023 Judicial Year, and I hope that your discussions will lead to solutions and initiatives to address the challenges of human rights in Africa and build an Africa worthy of children.
Thank you for your kind attention