Tenure of African Court Judges

Nomination and Appointment Process

Only a state that has ratified the Protocol creating the Court can nominate a candidate to be a judge to the Court. A state that has ratified the Protocol can nominate up to three candidates. At least one of those should be a woman. The nominations must be submitted to the AU Commission (the Office of the Legal Counsel) two months before the next AU Summit. There are two AU Summits each year – January and July.

The AU Commission shall send a list of all candidates to member states of the AU at least 30 days before the next ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.


Election of Judges

The Executive Council of the AU, a body made up of Foreign Affairs ministers, elects the judges by secret ballot. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government appoints the elected judges.

Ordinarily, the judges serve a six-year term. They can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The president of the Court is elected by the other judges for a two-year term, and may be re-elected for another two years.

The first president of the Court was Gérard Niyungeko of Burundi whose term as president began in July 2006. His deputy was Modibo Tounty Gouindo of Mali.

In the first six years of the Court, the terms of office were staggered to allow for smooth transition when new judges are elected. Four judges served a two-year term and four other judges are serving a four-year term.

The terms of Justices Akuffo, Ngoepe, Somda and Kanyiehamba expired in July 2008 after serving their two-year terms. The Executive Council of the AU, at its 13th Ordinary session in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in June 2008 re-elected Judges Sophia Akuffo and Bernard Ngoepe. They elected two new judges, Githu Muigai, a practising lawyer and academic from Kenya and Joseph Mulenga, a judge at the East Africa Court of Justice and Supreme Court of Uganda.

At the end of the 15th AU Summit held in Kampala, Uganda, from 19-27 July 2010, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government has appointed the following persons as judges of the African Court who have been elected by the 17th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council held in Kampala from 22-23 July 2010:  Sylvain Ore, Ivory Coast (4 years); Fatsah Ouguergouz (re-elected), Algeria (6 years); Augustino S. L. Ramadhani, Tanzania (6 years); Duncan Tambala, Malawi (6 years); and Eisie Nwanwuri Thompson, Nigeria (6 years).

Current Judges

Gérard Niyungeko, Burundi (2006-2012), (President 2006-2008)
Modibo-Tounty Gouindo, Mali (2006-2012)
Jean Mutsunzi, Rwanda (2006-2012)
Sophia Akuffo, Ghana (2006-2008, 2008-2014)
Bernard Ngoepe, South Africa (2006-2008, 2008-2014)
Joseph Mulenga, Uganda (2008-2014)
Sylvain Ore, Ivory Coast (2010-2014);
Fatsah Ouguergouz, Algeria (2006-2010, 2010-2016);
Augustino S. L. Ramadhani, Tanzania (2010-2016);
Duncan Tambala, Malawi (2010-2016); and
Eisie Nwanwuri Thompson, Nigeria (2010-2016).


Former Judges

Hamdi Faraj Hanoush, Libya (2006-2010)
Kellelo Justina Mafoso-Guni, Lesotho (2006-2010)
El Hadji Guisse, Sénégal (2006-2010)
Jean Somda, Burkina Faso (2006-2008)
George Kanyiehambda, Uganda (2006-2008 )
Githu Muigai, Kenya (2008-2014) resigned June 2009.

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