n African Human Rights Law Journal - Standing and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The African Commission has in its individual communications procedure adopted an approach where no connection needs to be present between the victim and the complainant in a case. The reasoning is justified as allowing Africans with limited economic or technical abilities to have a chance to have their cases heard. The broad approach to standing has led to difficulties for complainants to provide sufficient evidence and information as well as unexplained withdrawals of cases. This article explores the Commission's approach to standing, focusing on the preparatory work of the African Charter and communications decided by the Commission. It concludes that a connection to the victim of the alleged violation should be present, while at the same time ensuring an open procedure, allowing accessibility for victims with limited economic or technical abilities. It is suggested that the procedure of the CEDAW Committee should be used as a point of departure. With the inauguration of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, it is imperative that the African Commission works efficiently and smoothly to ensure a trustworthy regional mechanism, amongst others requiring that a solid foundation of evidence and certainty be present.

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