African Charter

Sacking of 14 judges by South Sudan President unconstitutional: East African Court of Justice

When a government removes one judge from office in a way that flouts the constitution and judicial independence it would be bad enough. But a case brought to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) by Justice Malek Mathiang Malek against South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir for dismissing him, was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Justice Malek was one of more than a dozen judges dismissed by the government in 2017. But Justice Malek, who has had more than 20 years’ experience on the bench, decided he was not simply going to accept the situation.

Read judgment

In its latest decision, the East African Court of Justice has come out strongly against unconstitutional government action to dismiss members of the judiciary. The case involved a senior member of the judicial bench in South Sudan, appeal court judge Malek Mathiang Malek, who challenged his 2017 dismissal by President Salva Kiir.

Courts’ differing views on whether independent candidates may contest elections

The role of independent candidates in elections is contested in many African countries. The Constitutional Court in South Africa issued a landmark decision on the question during June 2020. It held that the law had to be changed so that independent candidates may contest seats in elections. When a similar complaint was brought to the courts in Nigeria, however, the result was the opposite: there the courts upheld laws permitting candidates to contest political elections only via established political parties.

Read judgment

This case involved seven Nigerians who want to stand for elective office as independents. They were contesting Nigerian law in terms of which an individual must be a member of a political party in order to participate in elections, and thus become part of government.

African Court tells Tanzania: your constitution violates basic rights

Africa’s premier regional court, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has found that Tanzania’s constitution is in breach of the African Charter and other international law. This is because it provides that no one may test the results of Tanzania’s presidential elections in court. Tanzanian advocate, Jebra Kambole, brought the litigation in the African Court saying his rights under the African Charter had been violated. Finding in favour of Kambole’s application, the court ordered that Tanzania amend its constitution to remove this violation.

Disclaimer: The judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in this matter was read out, online, by the court on Wednesday this week, one of three decisions delivered that day. The judgment delivered in this case has not yet been placed on the court's website. The video link has also not yet been posted, even though the links for the other two judgments of that day have been placed on the court's YouTube page. However, I taped, watched and listened to the delivery of the decision in this matter as it was being handed down.

Subscribe to RSS - African Charter