The NGOs gathered at the NGO Forum appreciate the adoption adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights by the African Union. The court also appreciates the recognition of the court by Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania.
Further appreciative of the administrative and judicial operationalisation of the African Court, we are however concerned by the following challenges to the effectiveness of the African Court:
1. The restrictive access provisions in respect of individuals and NGOs to enable them to take cases directly to the African Court.
2. The fact that since the adoption of the Court Protocol only 25 African states have ratified this key human rights instrument and just 4 states have made the declaration in terms of article 34(6) recognising the competence of the Court to handle direct petitions from individuals and NGOs.
3. The perceived lack of political will on the part of heads of states to have an accessible and effective regional human rights court.
4. The proposal to increase the jurisdiction of the African Court to try crimes against humanity which in our view is inappropriate and not feasible given the lack of resources and political will to fight impunity on the continent.
The NGO Forum urges the African Commission to adopt a resolution to request the member states to:
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2010