By Catherine Ageno
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has dedicated the year 2018 to harnessing efforts towards synergy in the continent’s human rights systems and strengthening judicial efficiency.
In his message for the new year, the Court President Justice Sylvain Ore` has called for more ratifications of the protocol that establishes the Court in the new year because its success as a human rights protection mechanism requires a wider ratification of the protocol by member states, and making declarations under Article 34(6).
He said that for its part, the Court has adopted an annual work plan which encourages a catalytic engagement with all stakeholders of the African human rights community.
Justice Ore` adds that the protection of human rights in Africa in not the exclusive duty of the African Court, but a collective responsibility.
“It is against this postulate that I extend this message to all of us as a community, whether we are judges of the Court, policy organs of the African Union, Litigants, Applicants, respondent states, civil society or friends of the African Human rights system”, said Justice Ore` in a press statement.
He also challenges all stakeholders including civil society, judges and the media to seek to overcome the hurdle of the limiting 8 declarations to capitalize on the immense potential of the 30 ratifications in the Commission.
Justice Ore says this is the concerted action that he calls all people to join in 2018 for the sake of fostering human rights in Africa.
This, he says will also ensure an independent, strong and effective African Court.
Africa contributing to its successful establishment, Justice Ore is calling on the media and civil society to continue supporting the Court’s awareness activities through out the year.
“I wish to refer to the critical role that bears on the civil society and the media in supporting submission of cases to the Court by the Banjul Commission and providing States with assistance needed to effectively enforce the decisions of the Court”, he added.
He says since judicial activity requires constant awareness of fast changing legal thinking, and as such he has announced with enthusiasim, the uninterrupted publication of the African Human Rights Year Book whose second volume is already underway.
The first decade of the Court’s jurisprudence will also finally be published in an accessible format and will be placed at the disposal of the entire community for the overall interest of litigants, victims and all parties before the Court.
Also, under the second limb of its action in 2018, the Court will finalize its formal Legal Aid Program, proceed with the training of registered counsel, introduce a Code of Conduct for Counsel, finalize the review of its rules of procedure, pursue the release of guidelines of reparation and complete the process of setting up a compliance monitoring mechanism for enforcement of judgments.