President of Zanzibar: No gain if African Court fails

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African Court
African Court

Dr Hussein Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council has noted that “African Court is our own institution. We created it.

“I believe therefore that it is in the interest of all of us as Africans to make sure that this institution does not fail to meet its objectives.

“I dare suggest to all of us present here that there is no gain for Africa if the African Court becomes a failure or an institution that does not practically contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights across Africa”.

Dr Mwiniyi stated this during the opening ceremony of the “Conference on the Implementation and Impact of Decisions of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Challenges and Prospects,” at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The President of Zanzibar described the African Court as a useful addition to the African Human Rights Systems and it would be self-defeating to allow the African Continental Court to fail due to States’ failure to implement its decisions”.

Dr Mwiniyi whose speech was read on his behalf called on African Union to make sure that “we implement the decisions accordingly, knowing that a court whose decisions are not implemented loses its credibility and legitimacy”.

He therefore urged African countries to be proactive in their engagement with the jurisprudence of the African Court to ensure that all their laws are compliant to the standards in the charter and other continental human rights standards.

He said it was not always necessary for a State to be a defendant before the African Court in order for it to take steps to align its laws and practices in line with international human rights standards.

“States must simply pay adequate attention to the decisions of the African Court and where appropriate they can pre-emptively re-align their laws without waiting for a judgment to be rendered against them,” he said.

The President of Zanzibar also re-emphasised that, it was important to always bear in mind that the human rights standards that the African Court applied in its decisions were standards with a continental application, almost all of them were adopted within the African Union.

“I believe there is a strong case to be made for all African countries, even those that are not parties to the Protocol establishing the African Court, to pay attention to its articulation and restatement of the various human rights standards,” Dr Mwiniyi stated.

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