African Court ruled in favour of Journalist
African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights Rules In Favour Of Burkina Faso Journalist in Defamation Application
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) has ruled unanimously in favour of the Applicant (a Journalist) in a matter of Lohé Issa Konaté (Applicant) v. Burkina Faso (Respondent State), Application No 004/2013 in a judgment delivered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday 5 December, 2014.
The Judges ruled that the Respondent State violated Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 66(2)(c) of the Revised Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Treaty.
The Applicant was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment by the Ouagadougou High Court, for three articles he published in L’Ouragan Weekly in August 2012, over alleged corrupt practices of the Prosecutor of Faso, Mr. Placide Nikiema. The 12 months sentence was confirmed by the Ouagadougou Court of Appeal. He was also ordered to pay about 6 million CFA Francs (an equivalent of 12,000 USD), comprising of fines, damages and cost. The Newspaper was also slapped a six months suspension from publication.
The Applicant filed a case before the AfCHPR in June 2013 claiming that the jail term, damages as well as court costs violated his right to freedom of expression which is protected under various treaties to which Burkina Faso is party, including African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In its judgment, the Court held that all sentences pronounced by the Ouagadougou High Court and confirmed by the Court of Appeal "were disproportionate to the aim pursued by the relevant provisions of the Information Code and the Burkinabe Penal Code."
The Court added: "Since the conduct of Burkinabe courts fall squarely on the Respondent State, the Court is of the view that the latter failed in its obligation to comply with the provisions of Article 9 of the Charter, Article 19 of the Covenant and the Article 66(2)(c) of the revised ECOWAS Treaty with regards to the Applicant."
In the landmark ruling, the Court has ordered Burkina Faso to amend its legislation in order to make it comply with the above Articles and to report back to the Court within two years.
Press Release: African Court 8/12/2014
African Court to hear two applications during its 35th Ordinary Session
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hear two applications separately during its 35th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The public hearings are:
The hearings will be held at the Nelson Mandela Hall, African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa. The hearings begin at 10:00 am prompt.
Both the hearings will be live streamed via http://youtu.be/HzOkbpygOPY (Application 006/2012) and http://youtu.be/UGYq3n8ZBN8 (Application 005/2013).
African Court Coalition Advocacy Seminar held in Lusaka, November 2014
African Court Coalition Advocacy Seminar held in Lusaka, Zambia, 20-21 November 2014
The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Court Coalition) together with its Southern Africa Focal Point, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in collaboration with Women and Laws in Southern Africa (WLSA) successfully carried out an advocacy seminar on the ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Protocol) and deposit of the Declaration under article 34(6) of the same Protocol on 20-21 November 2014 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia.
This advocacy seminar came after the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Court) sensitization mission in Zambia last month within the Court’s program to sensitize countries that are still lagging behind in the process of ratification of the Protocol and deposit of the Article 34(6) Declaration.
The main objective of the advocacy seminar was to increase awareness of the African Court's work as well as the work of the African Court Coalition and uphold the protection and promotion of human rights in Zambia.
Participants to the advocacy seminar included 35 persons from different fields such as civil society organizations, members from Zambia Bar association, a Supreme Court judge, a magistrate, representatives from the Zambian Parliament, a representative from Human Rights Commission, representatives from the Ministry of Justice, religious leaders, university students, university professors and media personnels.
All topics were successfully covered and all planned activities were implemented. The topics included;
Participants further came up with advocacy strategies to foster ratification and deposit of the Declaration under Article 34(6) of the African Court Protocol by Zambia.
As a follow up mechanism, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA-Zambia) was recommended as the country focal point in following up the developments and formulating more strategies on the ratification and declaration of the African Court Protocol by Zambia.
The African Court Coalition was also able to recruit 6 new members in Zambia, who will benefit from getting the feeds of engagements of the Court and all other human rights related feeds from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union as well as to participate and be informed on the activities of the African Court Coalition.
We are grateful to the Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for the financial support of this advocacy seminar.
Benin has ratified Protocol to African Charter
BENIN HAS RATIFIED THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AFRICAN COURT ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS
We are delighted to inform you that the Republic of Benin has ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which makes it the 28th State to ratify that Protocol.
Advocacy seminars on Ratification held in Benin and Togo
The Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court Coalition) and its Western Africa Focal Points, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project in collaboration with two organizations, the Benin Coalition for International Criminal Court in Benin and Western Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in Togo carried out advocacy seminars in Benin from 15th to 16th May and in Togo from 20th to 21st May 2014.
The advocacy seminars were in line with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) sensitization missions in Benin and Togo within its program to sensitize the countries which are still lagging behind in the process of ratification and deposit of the declaration under Article 34(6) 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 Protocol).
All activities and objectives in both Benin and Togo planned prior the seminar were implemented and achieved, this included; general introduction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, capacity building on the Court’s Rules of Procedure presented by judges of the Court, Hon. Sylvain Ore and Hon. Kimelabalou Aba in Benin and Honorable Kimelabalou Aba in Togo.
Further implemented activities included the advocacy strategies to foster ratification or deposit of the said declaration and setting up of advocacy follow up mechanisms and country focal point were all presented by the African Court Coalition and collaborating partners in respective countries.
The advocacy seminars were successful that it increased awareness of the Court’s work in Benin and Togo which will increase voices to advance human rights and build capacity of NGOs and individuals to use the Court.
Along that success, the African Court Coalition and its partners were able to discovered that Benin had already began the processes of ratifying and depositing of the advocated Article of the Protocol, since 1999 with a decret of Benin Parliament (1999) and a law (2000) : (DECRET No 99-244 DU 14 MAI 1999, Portant transmission á l’ Assemblée nationale pour autorisation de ratification, du Protocole relatif á la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peoples portant creation d’une cour africaine des droits de l’homme et des peoples; L O I No 2000 – 10 DU 4 JUILLET 2000, Portant autorisation de ratification du Protocole relative á la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples portant creation d’une Cour Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples).
Advocacy strategies to foster ratification or deposit of the declaration and setting up of advocacy follow up mechanisms and formulation of focal points were also achieved that; in Benin two NGOs were formed by the participants to be the focal points these are; Changement Social Bénin (CSB) and FORAID.
Participants adopted as strategy to engage with the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the two institutions were identified as key actors on the ratification and the deposit of the Declaration process. In Togo, participants choose Western African Human Rights Defenders Network and Institut des Medias pour les Droits de l’Homme to be the focal points for advocacy follow up, also they identified key advocacy strategies including taking into account the work done so far by other organizations regarding the advocacy follow up on the deposit of the Declaration by Togo and identifying key actors to be reached in order for Togo to deposit the Declaration.
In its aim of being the extension of the Court’s hand in reaching more people and increasing voices, the African Court Coalition and its collaborating partners in respective countries were able to recruit new African Court Coalition members numerically Benin 13 and Togo 19 who being part of the African Court Coalition will benefit from getting the feeds of engagements of the Court and all other human right related feeds from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union, and to participate as well as be informed in activities of the African Court Coalition.
The advocacy seminars where financially supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
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African Court Coalition being a non-profiting Organization is open to receive donations which will support its activities particularly on trainings, seminars, advocacy and round tables with a purpose of assuring access to justice for all in Africa in working toward an effective, accessible and independent African Court on People’s and Human Rights (African Court).
Donations will also be used to support young graduates to gain experience with the African Court and the African Human Rights System as a whole as well as the work experience in an organization through a rich internship program conducted at the African Court Coalition Secretariat.
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