African Court commits to dialogue with international judicial bodies

By Francis Ameyibor 

Tema, Sept. 30, GNA – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) has relied extensively on the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in making some of the most important determinations in its jurisprudence.  

“As the youngest of the most active international judicial institutions, the African Court has mostly drawn from the vast experience of the ICJ in relation not only to general principles of law,” Lady Justice Imani D. Aboud, African Court President stated during a working visit the ICJ in The Hague, a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency stated.  

The visit regarded, as peer-to-peer benchmarking is imperative and a follow-up on one undertaken in 2018 and forms part of the African Court’s outstanding commitment to engaging in judicial dialogue with international judicial bodies to enhance exchanges and share experiences. 

Lady Justice Aboud cited state responsibility for internationally wrongful acts, and reparation, but also on the interpretation of public international law norms as prescribed in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties as some of the cases that the African Court had depended on ICJ experiences.  

She explained that a recent judgment of the African Court on issues having to do with the right to self-determination under the African Charter concerning the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is well illustrative of the jurisprudential cross-fertilisation between public international law, and human rights law systems.  

“It was recalled that the ICJ had in 2019 delivered an Advisory Opinion on the Chagos Archipelago, which dealt with the exercise of the right to self-determination by a people,” she stated. 

Lady Justice Aboud stressed “As the judicial organ of the African Union with a mandate to enforce human rights in Africa, the African Court has adopted judicial dialogue as one of the key pillars of its 2021-2025 strategic plan.  

“The plan is geared towards achieving its mandate of effective protection of the rights enshrined in the African Charter and other applicable international norms as provided in the Court’s Protocol.”  

Judge Joan E. Donoghue, ICJ President on her part expressed the international court’s interest in the work of the African Court. 

She noted that the world court had referred to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) in its decisions on issues related to the right to life, prevention of torture, right to liberty, and expulsion of individuals without due process to mention but a few.  

She stated the visit came at a time both Courts are confronted with similar challenges although their mandates differ.  

President Donoghue recalled some of the challenges which include reaching out to individual victims when granting remedies in interstate disputes, enforcement of judgments, and cooperation with states. 

The two judicial institutions also identified areas where their responsibilities overlap in their mandates and renewed their commitment to enhancing existing cooperation.