Blantyre, Malawi, October 2010

Blantyre, Malawi, October 2010

(Southern Africa Focal Point)

REPORT ON THE TRAINING WORKSHOP ON THE AFRICAN COURT AND ITS PROCEDURE BLANTYRE, 25 – 26 OCTOBER 2010

The African Court Coalition through its Southern Africa Focal Point, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and its local partner, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation convened a training workshop on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Commission in Blantyre, Malawi from 25-26 October 2010.

Some 20 participants and facilitators who attended included the Deputy Chairperson of the African Commission, Mumba Malila; Malawi Supreme Court and African Court Judge Duncan Tambala; Malawi Attorney General, Dr Jane Ansah; Ombudswoman Dr Chizumila; Malawi legal officers and civil society representatives from South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The purpose of the training workshop was to encourage litigation. The training workshop was designed to assist participants in:

  • Identifying cases for litigation;
  • Understanding the procedure for the filing of cases of the African Court; and
  • Gaining knowledge on the mandate powers and functions of the African Court.

The Workshop recommendations:

  1. Training manual on taking a case to the African Court should be developed.
  2. Raising greater awareness on the African Court and its relationship with the African Commission amongst state officials, legal officers, democracy institutions, civil society and national human rights institutions.
  3. Public advocacy to raise awareness on the African Court amongst the ordinary citizens.
  4. Training on how to apply for observer status and file communications before the African Commission.
  5. The promotion of dialogue between African Union member states and civil society on state reporting and ratification of international instruments.
  6. Member states to be encouraged to implement ratified regional and international instruments through domestication.
  7. African Commission should strengthen its promotional mandate.
  8. A platform should be created for the interaction of the African Court, African Commission and the sub-regional Courts and Tribunals.
  9. Member states to show commitment to the enforcement of African Commission and Court decisions by ensuring their implementation at the domestic level. The African Commission should consider the setting up of a Special Rapporteur to monitor implementation of its recommendations. The African Union should set up a department for the enforcement of decisions of the African Court. This department will work closely with the Council of Ministers and the African Court in ensuring that judgments are complied with.
  10. The Alex Nkula case involving the violation of the right to a fair trial, health, right to dignity and liberty should be lodged at the African Court as it was the view of the group that domestic remedies had been exhausted and Malawi recognises the competence of the African Court to hear petitions from individuals and NGOs. Malawi’s Supreme Court judge stated that the certification decision by the Chief Justice was a judicial and not administrative role; hence judicial remedies had been exhausted. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative in association with the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists held a meeting on the nomination and election of judges to the African Court in Nairobi on 18 March 2010.


Participants attending the Blantyre Conference

 

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