The Southern African Development Community Treaty came into existence by virtue of a declaration made by the Heads of State and government of Southern Africa, in Windhoek, Namibia in August of 1992.
Articles 9 and 16 of the Treaty provide for the establishment of a Southern African Development Community Tribunal (SADC Tribunal) that aims to promote economic development, peace and security within the southern region of Africa, goals stated in article 5 of the Treaty. A human rights mandate is inferred from this provision.
The SADC Tribunal has no admissibility requirements therefore all of its 15 Member States have direct access to it (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kingdom of Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar).
In addition to its protocols and charters, the SADC Treaty and any other African Union treaty that is ratified by the SADC Member States are applicable before the SADC Tribunal.