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Africa to create continental court to try criminal cases

Friday, July 13, 2012

Niyungeko said: Out of 54 African countries, only 26 have ratified the Protocol on the creation of the Court and only five of the 26 countries have made the Special Declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to file cases at the Court.”

 

ADDIS ABABA, July 13 (Xinhua) — The African continent is planning to merge the African Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights with an extension of the Court’ s mandate to try criminal cases, the president of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights said here at a press conference ahead of the 19th African Union (AU) Summit due on July 15 to July 16 this year.

“We’re going to request the 19th AU Summit to merge the African Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights with an expansion of the jurisdiction mandate to try criminal cases,” said Gerard Niyungeko, President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.

According to Niyungeko, the Court would operate like the Hague’ s International Criminal Court (ICC) and Africans accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity would not need to be sent to the ICC, but they would be tried by the African Court.

According to him, the merged Court would have three sections, one dealing with general matters, the second one dealing with human rights issues and the third one dealing with criminal matters.

Niyungeko said: “Out of 54 African countries, only 26 have ratified the Protocol on the creation of the Court and only five of the 26 countries have made the Special Declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to file cases at the Court.”

The five countries which have fulfilled all the requirements include Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi and Tanzania.

Niyungeko told the press conference that the members of the Court have been sensitizing African leaders to ratify the Protocol on the creation of the Court and to make the Special Declaration to help the Court fully operate.

Since its creation in 2008, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights only received 22 applications for contentious matters and three applications for advisory opinions because the African continent “does not know” it.

The Court has 11 judges recruited on a part-time basis for lack of funds and meet in four annual sessions.

 

2012-07-14 02:29:15

 

(Xinhua)