The African Court on Human and Peoples' Right ("ACHPR") came into force on January 25, 2004 and was established via Article I of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the "Protocol"). The court's chief purpose is to enhance the protective mandate of African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the "Charter") by strengthening the human rights protection system in Africa.
Currently, nine of the thirty States Parties to the Charter have recognized the competence of the court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals. The following chart illustrates the jurisdiction of the ACHPR:
|Contentious Jurisdiction||Under Article 3 of the Protocol, the Court has jurisdiction to deal with all cases and disputes submitted to it regarding the interpretation and application of the Charter, the Protocol, and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the concerned States.|
|Advisory Jurisdiction||Under Article 4 of the Protocol, the Court may, at the request of a Member State of the African Union, any of the organs of the African Union, or any African organization recognized by the African Union, provide an opinion on any legal matter relating to the Charter or any other relevant human rights instruments, provided that the subject matter of the opinion is not related to a matter being examined by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.|
Note: In 2009, the African Union began to explore the possibility of merging the ACHPR into a larger court, the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, that would also have jurisdiction to try international crimes. This enlarged judicial body would also have the authority to consider cases of unconstitutional change or prolongation of government as new crimes. You can view the proposed court's status and founding documents here, but this court is not yet operational.
The following collection contains the main legal tools that provide for the creation and maintenance of the ACHPR. These materials include the rules of court, practice directions, and the underlying foundation documents for the court:
If you are interested in other documents related to the work of the ACHPR, please visit this link. The "Other Relevant Documents" page on the ACHPR's website links to conventions on the rights of children and women, resolutions on terrorism, a common defense pact, and a convention governing African refugees.
The ACHPR's website also provides access to the judicial decisions of the court. These decisions include rulings on both contentious matters and advisory proceedings. In addition to court orders and decisions, you will also find links to statistical overviews of the court's caseload and a variety of related court filings for each case.
The ACHPR's website also provides access to publications of the court. These publications include the following types of content: