Composition of the Court

The Court consists of 11 judges. At least seven judges shall consider a case.

Nationals of the 53 member states of the African Union can be judges of the Court. The AU guidelines on nominations and elections of judges state that the court should have the following number of judges for each region of Africa: Eastern (2), Northern (2), Central (2), Western (3) and Southern region (2). No two judges can be from the same country.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government must ensure that there is a balance between men and women on the Court. Unfortunately the first bench was composed of two women and nine men.

The Court elects its own president and vice-president. The president of the Court serves on a full-time basis. The other judges serve on a part-time basis.

The Court shall appoint a registrar and other staff.



Court judges should be jurists of high moral character, and should have recognised practical, judicial and academic experience in the field of human and peoples’ rights.

The judges that compose the Court should have experience in one of the following legal traditions: civil, common, Islamic, and African customary law. Judges must also have experience in human and peoples’ rights.