PRESS RELEASE No 54/NOV/2013
Seminar on the Judicial Dialogue between the African Court and National Judiciaries opens in Arusha
Arusha, 18 November 2013: Today, the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, H. E. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, opened the Seminar on the Judicial Dialogue between the African Court and National Judiciaries organized by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, taking place in Arusha from 18 to 20 November 2013 at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
The Seminar brought together Chief Justices/Presidents of Supreme and Constitutional Courts and other representatives of national jurisdictions of African Union Member States as well as Members of African Sub-regional Courts and Members of the continental institutions of the African human rights system.
The objective of the Dialogue is to enhance discussions between these institutions to ensure protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa and share experiences and challenges with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights and consolidating judicial processes to that end.
In her welcome address to the participants, the President of the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Honourable Lady Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, said that in the course of the 3 day dialogue, Members of the Court, representatives of the African judiciaries and other continental institutions involved in the field of human rights and international law, will share information on the best practices of continental, sub-regional courts and national courts and discuss how to enhance the interaction and collaboration between continental human rights bodies, regional and national courts with a view to establishing a framework for practical and institutionalized cooperation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Seminar, the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, H. E. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, who officially opened the Seminar on behalf of the President of the Republic of Tanzania, H. E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, said that the United Republic of Tanzania is one of the twenty-six (26) African Union Member States which have ratified the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The United Republic of Tanzania is one of only seven (7) African Union Member States to have deposited the declaration allowing individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations, direct access to the Court.
Regarding the objectives of the Seminar, H. E. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda said that it is important to share lessons on the African Court and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as these two institutions complement each other in the protection of human and peoples’ rights. He added that “the complementarity between them should be enhanced and supported, more so in view of the African Union Policy organs’ decisions to merge the African Court of Human Rights with the African Court of Justice to create the African Court of Justice and Human Rights whose jurisdiction will be extended to international crimes.”
On his part, Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania, Justice Mohammed Chande Othman,said that the dialogue and exchange will offer participants an invaluable opportunity to learn about our different experiences in this regard so that they enhance and consolidate the judicial processes to this end.
During the 3 day seminar, participants will specifically discuss, among others, the African human rights system and its continental bodies, the interactions between national, regional and international courts such as through the principles of subsidiarity, exhaustion of local remedies, complementarity and referals for interpretation, procedures and practices in application of continental and regional human rights instruments by national courts, enforcement of decisions and recommendations of continental and regional human rights bodies by national courts and institutions, advisory jurisdiction of regional and continental courts and quasi-judicial institutions vis-à-vis national institutions.
The Dialogue follows a series of sensitization activities the Court has organized since 2010, aimed at creating awareness among stakeholders, including in particular, the Colloquium of Regional African Human Rights Courts and Similar Institutions, held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 4-6 October 2010, the Continental Conference on the Promotion of the Court held in Lilongwe Malawi, from 9 to 11 March 2011, the Consultative and Sensitization Seminar for National Human Rights Institutions in Africa, held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 16 to 18 November 2011, the Regional Sensitization Seminar for North and Eastern Africa organized in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, from 22 to 24 August 2012, the Continental Consultative and Sensitization Seminar on the promotion of the Court for Women Human Rights NGOs in Africa, held from 24 to 26 April 2013, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and Regional Sensitization Seminar on the Promotion of the African Court in West Africa held in Abidjan from 8 to 10 May 2013.