A Ghanaian Heads African Court on Human and Peoples Rights

By: Jonathan O. Grigsby, Snr. Contributor

 MONROVIA-A national of Ghana, Dennis Dominic Adjei has been elected a Judge of the African Court for of African Court on Human and Peoples Rights.

Professor Adjei was elected at the just-ended 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union held in Lusaka, Zambia and he will serve a term of six years.

He will be based in Arusha Tanzania and will serve a six-year term.

At the same Ordinary Session, Justice Ntyam Ondo Mengue from Cameroon was re-elected for a second and final term of six years.

According to dispatch, Professor Adjei will be sworn-in during the opening of the four-week 66th Ordinary Session of the Court scheduled for Monday, August 29, 2022 in Arusha, Tanzania, the seat of the Court.

His sworn-In is in pursuant to Rule 3 of the Rules of Court and Article 16 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The President of the Court, Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, has congratulated the two Judges and wished them every success as they carry on the noble task of pursuing justice and protection of human rights in Africa.

The members of the Africa Union voted three times on the candidates after which Dennis Dominic Adjei from Ghana was number one and Pedro Sinai Nhatitima from Mozambique became number two.

The Union voted three times on the two candidates of which Dennis Dominic Adjei maintained the first position. In accordance with the African Union rules on elections, the members were to vote on Dennis Dominic Adjei for him to secure two-thirds of the 51 members of the Union who are eligible to attend and vote.

Forty-five members voted of which 41 voted for Dennis Dominic Adjei with four abstentions and was declared elected and appointed to occupy the Floating Seat for the next six years.

Ghana now has a member of the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights after Justice Sophia Akuffo, the first Ghanaian who served as a member and finally as the President of that court about six years ago.

In May 2022, the African Union declared a floating seat which was occupied by Justice Marie Therese Mukamulisa from Rwanda vacant and invited qualified applicants from Africa.

A male and female were selected from each of the African blocks at the Ordinary Session of the Executive Council meeting of the African Union.

The African Court on Human and Peoples Rights consists of 11 judges among whom 10 were elected from the African blocks; Western, Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Africa and nationals of Member States of the African Union are elected in their individual capacity.

The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.

Among those shortlisted for the position include, Dennis Dominic Adjei, male from Ghana, Aua Balde, female from Guinea Bissau, Harimahefa, female from Madagascar, Pedro Sinai Nhatitima, male from Mozambique and Marie Therese Mukamulisan, female and incumbent from Rwanda.

About the African Court

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, also known as the African Court, is an international court established by member states of the African Union (AU) to implement provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights known as the Banjul Charter.

It is seated in Arusha, Tanzania, the judicial arm of the AU and one of three regional human rights courts – together with the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The African Court was created pursuant to a protocol to the Banjul Charter adopted in 1998 in Burkina Faso by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU.

The protocol came into force on 25 January 2004, following ratification by more than 15 countries.

The court’s first judges were elected in 2006 and it issued its first judgment in 2009.

The African Court’s mandate is to complement and reinforce the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a quasi-judicial body that monitors the implementation of the charter and recommends cases to the court.

It has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the Banjul Charter, the protocol to the charter, and any other human applicable human rights instrument.

The court can issue advisory opinions on legal matters and adjudicate contentious cases.


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