African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights

Elections for Africa's top human rights bodies should be transparent, merit-based

African Human Rights Day seems like a good time to reflect on an issue that affects all three of the continent’s premier human rights bodies: the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

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Amnesty International has released a report coinciding with African Human Rights Day, October 21. This is the day on which, in 1986, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights first came into effect.

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.

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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.

Law reporting at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights: Aspirations and Challenges (Part II)

In this second of a two-part blog, legal scholar Yuzuki Nagakoshi reflects on recent training at the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Without formal law reports, the public and legal professionals would have limited access to the law. In common law jurisdictions, where decisions are binding, it is essential that they are made widely available. This would ensure consistency in case law and fairness of the judicial process, and it would also make sure that the public is not ambushed by secret or inconsistent laws.


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