How to File a Case

Condition to file a case before the Court

Who can file an application before the Court?

The Court may receive cases filed by

(1) the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

(2) State Parties to the Protocol or African Intergovernmental Organizations

(3) non-governmental organizations with observer status before the African Commission and individuals*

*as long as the State against which the application is brought has deposited the declaration recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court to accept cases from individuals and NGOs.

What sort of applications or requests can be filed before the Court?

The decision whether an application to the Court  can be considered or not depends on whether it deals with a matter that is within the Court’s Jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction is the competence of  the Court to decide on matters brought before it.  The scope of the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is set out in the Protocol to the African Charter. According to this instrument, the Court has material jurisdiction over allegations relating to violations of human rights contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights or any other human rights instrument ratified by the State concerned.

  • Material Jurisdiction is satisfied if the allegations relate to violations of human rights contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights or any other human rights instrument ratified by the State concerned.
  • Personal jurisdiction refers to the entities which can bring a case before the Court. In general, that are the African Commission, State Parties to the Protocol and African Intergovernmental organizations. Individuals and non-governmental organizations may only directly bring cases before the Court if the State against which such application is made has made a special declaration accepting this procedure.
  • Temporal jurisdiction refers to the fact that the alleged violations must have occurred after the State concerned ratified the Protocol;
  • Territorial jurisdiction requires the alleged violations to have taken place in the State concerned.

What information does the application have to contain?

The application should:

  • Indicate the names and addresses of the person designated as the Applicant’s representative;
  • Include a summary of the facts of the case and of the evidence that will be adduced;
  • Indicate clear particulars of the Applicant and of the party or parties against whom the Application has been brought;
  • Specify the alleged violation;
  • Demonstrate the evidence of exhaustion of local remedies or of the inordinate delay of such local remedies;
  • Indicate the orders or injunctions sought;
  • Indicate whether an Applicant on his/her own behalf or on behalf of the victim wishes to be granted reparations.

Download the application form
Download the Fact Sheet on filing reparation claims
Comparative Study on the Law and Practice of Reparations for Human Rights

Where can one file an application or request for an advisory opinion?

Applications to the Court may be submitted by post, email, fax or courier to the Registrar at the seat of the Court in Arusha, Tanzania. The contact details are as follows:

Address: Dodoma Road, P.O. Box 6274, Arusha, Tanzania
Telephone: +255 27 297 0430/31/32/33/34

For media inquiries:

Twitter: @court_afchpr

African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights | For Inquiries Contact » +255-27-2970-430