The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has adjudged that the justice system must be opened to reflection and self-examination in order to avoid fossilization.
“This requires the judiciary to broaden the legal horizons and to be curious about what is happening elsewhere; in short, to air the courtroom by opening a window to the outside world,” Lady Justice Imani D. Aboud President of the African Court stated.
Justice Aboud who was speaking at the first Judicial Retreat of Judges of the African Court through virtual means due the COVID-19 health crisis, said “We are gathered to “rethink our way of protecting human rights” in order to improve it because perfection, as an ideal, is never definitively attained.
The African Court President Justice Aboud said the judicial protection of human rights by the Court, “if we want it to be strong, just, and protective of the rights of all, must be based on the philosophy that human rights is an ideal, a perpetual and ever-perfectible quest”.
She said the basis for a better promotion and protection of human rights will not, of course, come from conventions and charters applicable before human rights adjudication bodies, nor from established jurisprudence.
She said “we are convinced that the debates and the exchange of ideas among high-level practitioners will open the door to significantly greater benefits and impact of our work for the good of all Africans”.
The African Court Judicial Retreat, was designed for reflection between high-level jurists, human rights specialists and experts in judicial matters on the future of the African Court as the judicial organ of the African Union with a human rights mandate.
It was also a platform to find ways and strategies to rethink its judicial system, dissect the pitfalls that could stand in the way of its progress and propose new approaches with a view to build a more accessible and sound justice system that protects the rights of all persons, and which has the support of both States and African citizens.
The Judicial Retreat was also to take stock of the African Court’s operating system, its jurisprudence, and its relations with other human rights actors in Africa, to identify its strengths and weaknesses as well as to find ways and means to consolidate its achievements, fill in the gaps, remedy weaknesses and correct failings.