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AU Assembly should consider human rights implications before adopting the Amending Merged African Court Protocol, Author: Frans Viljoen, Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Professor of Human Rights Law

26 Jun


A radical change to the ever-altering African regional judicial landscape is looming large. Meeting in Addis Ababa in mid May 2012, the African Union (AU) ‘Government Experts and Ministers of Justice/Attorneys General on Legal Matters’ adopted the AU – Final Court Protocol – As adopted by the Ministers 17 May (Amending Merged Court Protocol, Exp/Min/IV/Rev.7, 15 May 2012). This draft will in all likelihood serve before the meeting of the AU Heads of State and Government (AU Assembly), to be held in July, in Malawi. If adopted by the AU Assembly, the Protocol will confer upon the to-be-established African Court of Justice and Human Rights the jurisdiction to convict and sentence individuals for international crimes. This paper aims to highlight some concerns, particularly from a human rights angle, about the Amending Merged Court Protocol, in its current form, and argues that the complex implications arising from the suggested amendments require more deliberation and broad inclusive discussion.

AU Assembly should consider human rights implications before adopting the Amending Merged African Court Protocol.

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1 Comment

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

One response to “AU Assembly should consider human rights implications before adopting the Amending Merged African Court Protocol, Author: Frans Viljoen, Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Professor of Human Rights Law

  1. choforche

    June 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Very inspiring article especially for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. Experience and legal practice has indeed shown that there are indeed serious disparities between courts focusing on state responsibility and courts dealing with individual criminal responsibility. Courts dealing with state responsibility make findings about state responsibility, while courts focusing on criminal justice make findings centred on individual guilt.

    Another very important difference Prof Frans brings out is the evidentiary standards that apply in various courts. The standard in an international criminal tribunal is that of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, while state responsibility is determined with allusion to the standard of a balance of probabilities. A very important point to underscore which would seriously affect the operation of the proposed Court.

    Let mechanisms of promoting human rights enforceability operate under a separate legally binding entity, while mechanisms of enforcing criminal justice operate under another entity.

     

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