Regional Tribunals

  • The African Court of Justice and Human Rights is a result of the the merger of the African Court of Justice of the African Union, established under the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the separate court established by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights provides that the African Court shall consist of two Sections with separate judges, namely a General Affairs Section and a Human Rights Section each composed of eight judges. The General Section has jurisdiction over all cases over which the African Court of Justice of the African Union had competence, except those “concerning human and/or peoples’ rights which are reserved for the Human Rights Section. The first case decided by the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is profiled in the Section below.

    Introductory Note to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights
    Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

  • In a process parallel to that before the African Court, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS), was seised with an application by Hissein Habre against the State of Senegal for violation of his human rights and violation of fundamental principles of law. He alleged that by amending its Constitution to try him for alleged offenses that were not criminal offenses under the laws of Senegal at the time they were committed, Senegal was in breach of the non-retroactivity of criminal law enshrined, generally, in international legal instruments and, in particular, in Article 7.2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. A Note analyzing the ECOWAS judgment and the Judgment itself are attached.

    Introductory Note on the ECOWA Court in Habre V. Senegal: by Jan Arno Hessbruegge
    Judgment of the ECOWAS Court in Hissein Habre V. Republic of Senegal

The East African Economic Community, which brings together Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda is one of the oldest regional economic groupings in Africa. The current Treaty which was concluded on 30 November 1999 was a revival of the Treaty which had been concluded in 1967, setting up the East African Community but which was dissolved in 1977. Prior to independence, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, operated a common customs union under the East African High Commission, established in 1947, with subsequent revisions, until it was replaced by the East African Community. The three countries had common railways, harbours, an airline, and customs arrangements including a common currency and University Council. The push for sovereign independence led to gradual disbandment of these institutions until the total rupture of the carefully nurtured East African Common Market in 1977.

The East African Community Treaty, as currently constituted, aims essentially at reducing trade barriers through tariff reductions for locally manufactured goods and establishing a common customs union for imported goods. The Treaty establishes an East African Court of Justice for resolution of disputes arising from implementation of the Treaty provisions. This court, however, is a far cry to the court of the same name which heard appeals from the superior courts of the three territories. The current court has no such jurisdiction that can generate economic prosperity for the region.

East African Community Treaty

The East African Court of Justice

IN THE MATTER OF A REQUEST BY THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY FOR AN ADVISORY OPINION: Advisory Opinion of the East African Court of Justice. Application No. 1 2008

  • The African Court of Justice and Human Rights is a result of the the merger of the African Court of Justice of the African Union, established under the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the separate court established by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights provides that the African Court shall consist of two Sections with separate judges, namely a General Affairs Section and a Human Rights Section each composed of eight judges. The General Section has jurisdiction over all cases over which the African Court of Justice of the African Union had competence, except those “concerning human and/or peoples’ rights which are reserved for the Human Rights Section. The first case decided by the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is profiled in the Section below.

    Introductory Note to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights
    Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

  • In a process parallel to that before the African Court, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS), was seised with an application by Hissein Habre against the State of Senegal for violation of his human rights and violation of fundamental principles of law. He alleged that by amending its Constitution to try him for alleged offenses that were not criminal offenses under the laws of Senegal at the time they were committed, Senegal was in breach of the non-retroactivity of criminal law enshrined, generally, in international legal instruments and, in particular, in Article 7.2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. A Note analyzing the ECOWAS judgment and the Judgment itself are attached.

    Introductory Note on the ECOWA Court in Habre V. Senegal: by Jan Arno Hessbruegge
    Judgment of the ECOWAS Court in Hissein Habre V. Republic of Senegal

The East African Economic Community, which brings together Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda is one of the oldest regional economic groupings in Africa. The current Treaty which was concluded on 30 November 1999 was a revival of the Treaty which had been concluded in 1967, setting up the East African Community but which was dissolved in 1977. Prior to independence, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, operated a common customs union under the East African High Commission, established in 1947, with subsequent revisions, until it was replaced by the East African Community. The three countries had common railways, harbours, an airline, and customs arrangements including a common currency and University Council. The push for sovereign independence led to gradual disbandment of these institutions until the total rupture of the carefully nurtured East African Common Market in 1977.

The East African Community Treaty, as currently constituted, aims essentially at reducing trade barriers through tariff reductions for locally manufactured goods and establishing a common customs union for imported goods. The Treaty establishes an East African Court of Justice for resolution of disputes arising from implementation of the Treaty provisions. This court, however, is a far cry to the court of the same name which heard appeals from the superior courts of the three territories. The current court has no such jurisdiction that can generate economic prosperity for the region.

East African Community Treaty

The East African Court of Justice

IN THE MATTER OF A REQUEST BY THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY FOR AN ADVISORY OPINION: Advisory Opinion of the East African Court of Justice. Application No. 1 2008