African Court to work with Benin to strengthen human rights

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Politics African Court
African Court

The Republic of Benin has indicated that it is committed to strengthening human rights and good governance, and that it will work very closely with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to attain this objective.

Benin’s Minister for Justice and Legislation, Séverin Maxime Quenum, stated during discussions with African Court leadership including President Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud.

The African Court team also included the Vice-President Justice Blaise Tchikaya, and key Registry staff.

The Minister lauded the visit, adding that it was encouraging to see that the African Court’s new leadership had taken a renewed approach of engaging with African Union Member States on ways to strengthen the continental judicial body.

“The new leadership of the African Court has embarked on a renewed approach to its cooperation with States due to challenges it has faced recently in this respect. This is a most welcome and refreshing move,” the Minister said.

The Minister challenged the African Court to undertake reforms to make it more effective by reviewing its structure and its Registry as well as conditions of service of judges.

“The African Court needs an overhaul of its statutes to take into account some operational challenges it has been facing,” the Minister pointed out.

The African Court President, Justice Aboud said the Continental Court had been facing challenges which include the relatively low level of ratifications, very few declarations, which have been on the decline in recent years, and a poor level of implementation of its decisions.

“The protection of human and peoples’ rights is a collective responsibility, with the Member States at the centre as the key stakeholders,” she said.

“The African Court was established at the instance of the Heads of State who were convinced, and still remain convinced, that the African Court is a key player in the socio-economic and political development of the continent,” she reminded.

The Court, she added, was established to help States meet their obligations to ensure the enjoyment of human rights of their nationals, and for the Court to effectively discharge its mandate with the support of States.

She added: “The Court is extending a hand to all Member States of the Union to work together for the enhancement of human rights on the continent.”

The Court is marking its 15th Anniversary this year and needs everyone’s support to ensure it executes its mandate as enshrined in the Protocol. “The Court is organising a Retreat with the policy organs of the African Union to discuss possible reforms of the Court in Zanzibar in December.” President Aboud said.

The African Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

It is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity. The African Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold an Extra-Ordinary Sessions.

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