African Court still keeping tabs on Tanzania’s option

THE African Court on Humana and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) is still keeping tabs on Tanzania’s pledge of allowing individuals and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to bring cases against it at the Continental Court.

Speaking here earlier this week, AfCHPR President Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud said they were looking forward to Tanzania to change its mind.

“We are very optimistic that Tanzania will in a near future allow individuals to access the court,” said the AfCHPR President shortly after the swearing-in of Judge Professor Dennis Dominic Adjei from Ghana during the court’s 66th Ordinary Session held here on Monday.

Lady Justice Aboud however maintained that the court was still giving Tanzania to weigh out its options in allowing individuals file cases at the Arusha-based court.

She said: It’s not that countries are hesitant to do so; they are just exploring their options.

In 2019, Tanzania became the second country in the EAC, after Rwanda, to withdraw the right of individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to directly access the African Court.

Early this year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa stated that Tanzania was in full support of the AfCHPR mandate.

According to the Premier, the country supports Human Rights Issues such as rule of law, justice which he said were a prerequisite to socio-economic development.

Mr Majaliwa insisted that Tanzania continues to uphold human rights principles, despite withdrawing the right of individuals and NGOs to directly access the Court.

“The government will continue to closely work with the continental court in justice dispensation,” the PM assured.

In March this year, the government reiterated its position towards AfCHPR saying it hasn’t withdrawn from the continental court as it is widely reported.

It however maintained that Tanzania had only withdrawn from its declaration article 34(6) of the Protocol which grants individuals and nongovernmental organizations the right to directly bring cases of human rights violations against those States, before the Continental Court.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk cited a number of reasons that led to Tanzania’s withdrawal, chiefly being the sovereignty of the country.

“The decision was arrived at following thorough consultations and discussions for the good of the country’s sovereignty and not politically motivated,” the deputy minister clarified.

Mid this year, the government approved a4bn/-($1.7million) for the construction of the regional court’s headquarters in Arusha.

Currently, the continental court operates from its temporary offices at the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) buildings.

The African Court was established to complement and reinforce the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission – often referred to as the Banjul Commission),which is a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the Charter.

Its mission is to enhance the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights by strengthening the human rights protection system in Africa and ensuring respect for and compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as other international human rights instruments, through judicial decisions.

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