President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Lady Justice Imani D. Aboud, has launched the African Court’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 at the Seat of the Court in Arusha, Tanzania.
The African Court’s Strategic Plan on the theme: “Deepening Trust in the African Court,” has been developed based on a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the human rights environment in which it operates.
Justice Aboud noted that in delivering on its mandate the African Court is keenly aware of the need to develop synergies with different human rights’ stakeholders, a copy of the strategic plan made available to the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency has established.
“To understand the scope of those potential synergies it is important to map out the various issue areas, stakeholders and procedures where those forms of collaboration can thrive,” she said.
The African Court President noted that plan also took into consideration, a strategic analysis of the African Court’s past performance, but with a specific focus on the Court’s achievements in realising the goals of its previous strategic plan (2016-2020) and the various lessons learned.
She noted that the main underlying aspiration of this Strategic Plan was that its implementation would result in the deepening of trust in the African Court and ensure greater public confidence in the African human rights protection system.
Lady Justice Aboud noted that the African Court’s mandate was to safeguard the rights of individuals and peoples in the context of human rights disputes.
The types of disputes that the Court resolves relate to the rights and freedoms of students and teachers – right to education; journalists and academics – freedom of expression; children, elderly, and persons with disabilities – right to extra-protection for the socially vulnerable.
Others include women – freedom from discrimination; the poor – right to economic and social development; the wrongfully accused – right to a fair trial.
The African Court President noted that in dealing with this wide set of possible human rights conflicts, the African Court interpreted and applied a diverse set of legal instruments, including first and foremost the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, but also any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.
“This foresight by the African leaders who created the African Court makes it possible for the Court to develop a uniquely African human rights law regime whereby other international treaties are interpreted and applied in a contextualised way by taking local African circumstances into account,” she said.
The Strategic Plan was developed with the input of 83 African Court personnel including Judges and Registry staff and over 185 persons from various categories of the African Court’s stakeholders.
These originated from all six regions of the African continent (East, West Central, North, South and from the Diaspora), representing national courts, governments, parliaments, national human rights institutions, academia, bar associations, civil society organisations, the media, African regional courts, African Governance Architecture (AGA) Platform members and other international organisations.
She noted that over the period the African Court will heavily invest in creating greater awareness about its role in the protection of human rights in Africa, and improve levels of cooperation with its stakeholders to foster greater synergies in this domain.
The Court will build on such mechanisms as the biennial African Judicial Dialogues, the soon to be established African Judicial Network, its regular sensitisation missions to African states, media engagement, the AGA Platform and the International Human Rights Forum with the European and Inter-American Human Rights Courts.