n African Human Rights Law Journal - The appeal of the African system for protecting human rights

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



Twenty years after the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights came into force and with the advent of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, it is legitimate and appropriate to ask questions about the appeal of the African system for protecting human rights. Are the way it functions and its results effective in attracting a large number of complaints and, in the face of competition from the universal system, is it preferred by the victims of violations against human rights in Africa? Does this system merely exist or does it contribute to a substantial improvement in good state practices, reinforcing democracy, good governance and human security in Africa? According to an evaluation that has been made, the functioning of the system remains hampered by numerous obstacles and challenges. The limits and imperfections of the African system can be surmounted with the real will of the member states of the African Union. The arguments previously evoked about African cultures should be abandoned, as the universality of human rights is not an obstacle to the diversity of cultures. The appeal of the African procedures of human rights is marked by the debate on the pertinence of the fusion between the African Court and the Court of Justice of the AU. While a normative clean-up of the African Charter seems necessary in so far as duties are concerned, all the more so as doctrine indicates that it is no longer truly valid in the present context of democratic renewal, it equally seems imperative, at the institutional level, that if the AU wants to improve the system, it would be better to go beyond the idea of a fusion of the two organs to enlarge the field of competence and action of the African system of protecting human rights, by including a competence in criminal matters.

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