By Taiwo Adebowale
Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained why Africa Union (AU) Member-States must carry out more sensitization on the role of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights.
Vice President Osinbajo noted during a meeting today with judges of the Court led by the President, Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, at the Arusha office of the AU judicial agency that he think one of the critical issues is more sensitization.
His words: “one of the critical issues is more sensitization among Member-States of the African Union. I think that more Countries would be more willing (to identify as required with the Court). I think that governments just require more assurance especially on the issue of complementarity.”
Two years ago, in May 2019, Judges of the Court had visited Prof. Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a continental court established by Member States of the African Union by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which came into operation in November 2006 seeking to enhance the protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.
Expressing his strong faith in the work of the Court, the Vice President averred “I believe very strongly in the International and Regional Court system, especially with respect to the protection of human rights”
While noting the challenges faced by the Court, Prof Osinbajo said, “there will always be tensions and challenges because States will always be mindful of their sovereignty.”
Prof Osinbajo commended the achievements of the Court in spite of many challenges: “I really must commend you for the work you are doing, and landmark rulings of the court. Many have followed your work , especially when cases are about protection of the rights of women and freedom of information and I think there is consensus that the Court’s handling of these cases has generally pointed in the right direction.”
He then observed that international and regional Courts of Justice and their rulings will also become increasingly important in the years to come as consensus grows around the fundamental importance of protection of individual and collective rights.
In her own remarks, Hon. Justice Imani informed the Vice President that one of the big challenges the Court faces is that more African States are yet to ratify the Protocol and make the Declaration under Article 34 (6). She however said that the Court was doing its best in the circumstance, and the 62nd Session of the Court would be starting next week to deliberate on cases before it.
In attendance at the meeting were the Vice President of the Court Justice Blaise Tchikay, other justices, and the Registrar Dr. Robert Eno. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ambassador Hamisu Umaru Takalmawa accompanied the Vice President to the meeting.