Ghana has reaffirmed its commitment towards the implementation of decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
It is among the six African Union Members States that have so far signed the declaration and deposited it.
Article 34 of the Protocol of Ratification stipulates that “at the time of ratification of this Protocol or any time thereafter, the State shall make a declaration accepting the competence of the African Court to receive cases under Article 5(3) of this Protocol.
“The African Court shall not receive any petition under article 5(3) involving a State which has not made such a declaration.”
Article 5(3) states: “The African Court may entitle relevant Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with observer status before the Commission, and individuals to institute cases directly before it, in accordance with article 34(6) of this Protocol.
Ghana’s position was affirmed on Monday by Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, Chairperson, Constitutional Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament, who is part of Ghana’s delegation at the International Conference on the Implementation and Impact of Decisions of the African Court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He noted that as sign of commitment to the African Court, Ghana signed the declaration on February 9, 2011, and deposited it on March 10th, 2011 to allow Ghanaian citizens and non-governmental organisations to file cases at the African Court.
Ghana has been joined by five others African Countries namely Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Mali, Malawi, and Tunisia to have taken the bold step to accept the authority of the African Court.
Contributing to discussion on the implementation of African Court’s decision, experiences from the legislature; Mr Anyimadu-Antwi noted that Ghana as demonstration of its commitment to the African Court has implemented judgements against the state; “in fact in all the cases that Ghana was dragged to the African Court, the nation worn.
“It was only one case where an interlocutory order drew a bit of hiccups but the nation worn the substantive case”.
Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, contributing to the discussion, noted that there was a fundamental challenge to the structure of the African Court and called for review.
He said for AU Member States to be committed in the implementation of the African Court’s decision, “we must check the structures that establishes it”.
Only 31 Member States have currently ratified the Protocol establishing the African Court out of these, only the six States have accepted the competence of the African Court according to its Act. 34 (6), according to which individuals and NGOs can directly file cases to the African Court.
In the absence of such a Declaration, the application must be submitted to the Banjul Commission first, which may then – after preliminary examination – decide to refer the case to the Court.