Implementation of Decisions and Judgments of Regional Human Rights Tribunals in Africa: Reflections on Notable Challenges
This article discusses challenges of regional and sub-regional human rights tribunals in Africa and identifies hindrances to state compliance with decisions and judgments of these tribunals. The article focuses on the three main regional human rights tribunals, namely the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It also refers in pertinent cases to the jurisprudence of three sub-regional courts that have decided significant human rights-related cases, namely the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECCJ), the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the Tribunal of the Southern African Community (SADC Tribunal). The article argues that notwithstanding the proliferation on the African continent of bodies with human rights mandate, the AU is yet to adequately mainstream human rights into its processes and programmes. This results in lack of coordination and collaboration among the various AU organs, avoidable jurisdictional overlaps as well as duplication of functions and the problem of limited capacity of, and limited access to, the various human rights-protecting institutions. The author, however, notes that while the AU Human Rights Strategy has not solved most of these problems, the Strategy remains one of the clearest policy documents from a major AU organ aimed at addressing the challenges identified in this article.
Keywords - Challenges, Hindrances, State Compliance, Human Rights Tribunals, Africa