Honourable Judges, Members of the Court,
Mr. Deputy Registrar,
Distinguished speakers and resource persons,
Presidents of the Bars of East African States,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Advocates,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court Registry,
Dear participants in your various titles, ranks and civilities,
- After three days of intense work, here we are at the end of the fourth training session initiated by the Registry of the Court for lawyers registered on the list of counsel at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- At the end of these three days of intense exchanges and discussions, I would like to sincerely thank all the participants for their active participation in both the plenary sessions and the working groups.
- I would also like to thank all the jurists of the Court as well as all those who made presentations to share their experiences, all of which were very enriching.
- I would also like to thank the translators and interpreters whose services made our exchanges possible and easy.
- Finally, I would like to thank the Protocol Department, the session secretariat, the IT and Travel departments, the staff of the Mont Meru Hotel and all those who have contributed in diverse ways to make this fourth training session successful.
Dear participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- This training session, like those of the past years, is of great importance not only for the Court but also for you. As you have seen for yourselves, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a specialized international court whose procedure, in many respects, is different from those to which litigants and you, who represent them before domestic courts, are accustomed.
- It is all the more so because the texts applicable before the Court are the result of international treaties that are sometimes very little publicized and less known. However, it is no longer a secret that the world of work, and especially international justice system, is becoming more demanding and more competitive every day, such that those who do not update their knowledge and professional skills stand no chance.
- You have done everything possible to make this training successful. The exceptional quality of the presentations and the debates which took place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sharing with a strong desire to appropriate the various aspects of the Court’s missions and thus to enhance the quality of applications to be introduced before it. In this respect, I would like to invite you to regularly revisit the new rules of the Court in order to appropriate all the novelties that have been introduced.
- I am also pleased to note that out of 119 lawyers on the Court’s list, 108 of whom have received this training to date, only 50 cases before the Court have benefited from the assistance of lawyers on our list and I should add that out of the 50 cases, more than half of them have been represented by networks of lawyers, including PALU, EALS, and so on.
- That said, the Court still has high expectations of you. Absent assignment of cases by the Court, the trained counsel that you are entitled to initiate proceedings before the Court, because indeed, it is to be expected that in the exercise of your profession you have at least come across or will come across litigious cases that could be settled by the African Court.
- You have gone through all the details of issues related to the jurisdiction and the procedure before the Court. Therefore, do not hesitate to bring cases before the Court as soon as you find plausible violations of citizens’ rights and to make use of the possibilities of amicable settlement.
- Issues relating to the enforcement of the Court’s decisions have also been discussed during your plenary sessions and you will agree with me that if the Court is concerned about the non-enforcement of its decisions, you, the applicants and the lawyers, are even more concerned. That is why I invite each of you, individually or collectively, to act in partnership with the Court to achieve the successful outcome of our judicial diplomacy program, which primarily aims at bringing more African States to ratify African human rights instruments; deposit the declaration accepting the Court’s jurisdiction to receive applications from individuals and NGOs and enforce decisions rendered by the Court
- On another front, I would like to note that the Court’s ambition is to have lawyers from all 55 member states of the African Union on its roster. Please be our ambassadors to your colleagues, to your respective bars and to lawyers’ networks in order to encourage other lawyers to register on our roster.
- The training session that is coming to an end gives each of you a key role to play for the Court to protect human rights effectively. Indeed, legal aid for indigent applicants is undoubtedly the means of ensuring access to justice for all, based on a balance between the parties, equal opportunities to have their case heard and equal access to the Court, without which respect for the right to a fair trial could not be truly effective. The Registry is also counting on your lobbying for the operationalization of the legal aid fund that we hope and pray for.
Ladies and Gentlemen
- Before closing my remarks I would like to thank you all once again for your participation and to invite you to regularly visit the Court’s website in order to become more conversant with our jurisprudence. The Court also hopes that the lessons learned during these three days will inspire you to represent applicants whenever necessary.
- On this note, and wishing everyone a safe journey home, I hereby declare closed the work of the fourth training session for lawyers on the roster of counsel before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Je vous remercie de votre aimable attention.