Fair Trial / Judiciary

IHRDA and the Coalition for an Effective African Court

Coalition for an Effective African Court (ACC)

The Coalition for an Effective African Court (ACC) was formed in May 2003 in Niamey, Niger during the first conference to promote the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. ACC is made up of individuals, non-governmental organisations, and independent national human rights institutions with an interest in and commitment to a strong human rights protection mechanism in Africa. ACC’s main objectives are to secure full ratification of the Protocol establishing the Court; ensure that judges are nominated and elected in a transparent manner; provide a forum for civil society to actively participate in the establishment of the Court; and provide technical support to the African Union (AU) and the Court.

Since 2003 ACC has undertaken a number of strategic activities geared towards the effective functioning of the continent’s first human rights court. ACC has tenaciously advocated for the consideration of issues affecting the Court during the Sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACmHPR). It has also undertaken a number of awareness-raising programmes with governments and research on the need to nominate competent judges to the Court in line with the AU’s guidelines on nominations. ACC also made an input on the Interim Rules of Procedure of the Court. Following the AU’s decision to merge the AfCHPR with the AU Court of Justice, ACC submitted proposals on the instrument to merge the two Courts. The final draft Protocol merging the courts included a number of recommendations made by ACC.

The ACC, through its focal points, has also undertaken campaigns at the national level to lobby countries to ratify the Protocol establishing the AfCHPR. These countries include Cape Verde, Congo, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Kenya. From these campaigns, the Protocol came into force in January 2005. Consequently, 7 states also ratified the Protocol as a result of the ACC’s efforts.

ACC is managed by a nine-member Executive Committee headed by a Chairperson. The Committee operates through a Secretariat, Coordinator, focal points and liaison advisors. IHRDA is currently the focal point on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). IHRDA served as Chairperson of ACC from 2007 to 2008.

For more, visit ACC’s website, www.africancourtcoalition.org.

Role of ACC Focal Point on NHRIs

IHRDA’s role as focal point on NHRIs falls into three categories: the provision of technical assistance to NHRIs; the creation and fostering of broader links amongst members of the ACC; and acting as a facilitator to the business of the ACC and its members. Within this broad mission, IHRDA hopes to ensure that NHRIs assume a foremost role in their various countries in publicising the Court as a credible continental human rights protection and enforcement mechanism. This, IHRDA would achieve through supporting NHRI programmes in training, education, information documentation and dissemination, research, advocacy, lobbying and networking. All this is geared towards making the AfCHPR accessible to all Africans.

In fulfilment of its mission and role as focal point, IHRDA participated in the 6th Annual Conference of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions held in Kigali, Rwanda from 8th to 10th October 2007. IHRDA also participated in the 9thInternational Conference of National Human Rights Institutions held in Nairobi, Kenya from 21st to 24th October 2008.

IHRDA has also developed a strong working relationship with the Secretariat of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions. IHRDA is currently working with the Secretariat to develop a Plan of Action to increase African NHRIs’ engagement with the African human rights system.

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