The African Court: Need for a system-based approach to jurisprudential affirmationPosted: 16 November, 2017 Filed under: Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun | Tags: advisory matters, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Court, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ‘introspective’ jurisprudence, criticised, Inoperative Advisory Mandate, international human rights law, Memorandum of Understanding, Observer Status, raison d’être, Remedial powers, system, unconstitutional 5 Comments
Author: Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun
Visiting Professor of international human rights law and comparative African constitutional law, Central European University;
Extraordinary Lecturer, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Principal Legal Officer, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
This article is a summarised version of a much longer commentary which shall be published subsequently.
The views expressed below are exclusively those of the author and not of the African Court.
THE IMPERATIVE OF SYSTEM-BASED LAW MAKING
When the African Court became operational in 2006, the expectation was that it will affirm the then widely criticised African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights rather than merely “judicialise” the system. The Court therefore bears the historical duty to adopt a system strengthening approach to judicial law-making. As it makes law over the years, it becomes paramount to vet the Court’s pronouncements against that raison d’être. I attempt to do so with respect to its recent decisions.
Substantively, the requests related to a varied range of matters that are both current and novel, ranging from the meaning and scope of the role of the African Union policy organs to ‘consider’ the Activity Report of the African Human Rights Commission to the modalities of litigating the crime of unconstitutional change of government. Unfortunately, the Court did not assert jurisdiction to pronounce itself on the merit of those issues.