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.
Time limits on filing appeals and reviews can bring litigation to an abrupt end when they are not observed. But what is a court to do if it is not clear when the time limits actually start. The apex courts of two African jurisdictions have found themselves dealing with exactly this question – when do the days of a time limit begin to run? And the question was made even more complicated because the high courts in both countries had produced two contradictory positions from which the apex courts had to choose.