President of African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights urges African states to join Court
12/11/2018 17:56, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - President of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights Silvan Ore has urged African countries that have not yet ratified the protocol establishing the court to do it, stressing that the ratification does not contradict the principle of sovereignty as much as it supports and reflects the respect for the principles of human rights and the law.

Speaking to TAP on the opening of the 51st session of the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) on Monday, Ore added that only 30 African countries out of a total of 55 African Union members had joined the court, reflecting the caution that most African countries still have in regard to the importance of this court.

He noted that that the Court is carrying out a series of trips and visits to countries that have not yet accessed it in order to raise awareness about the importance of joining the court.

Among the issues behind this caution is the issue of human rights which remains a sensitive subject that no state accepts to be accused of not respecting it, he said, adding that the process of accession remains voluntary and a political issue above all.

Justice Ore noted that many countries also did not know the importance of the court and its objectives and features and therefore did not announce this to their peoples and relevant organisations after joining the court.

This confirms that the court has a lot of work in this direction, not only among the ordinary citizens but all among relevant actors such as lawyers, media and human rights organisations, he said, noting that the court has an agreement with UNESCO regarding the implementation of awareness and sensitization programs for journalists.

 On the cases brought before the court, Justice Silvan Ore stressed that Tunisia is not concerned and that there are no cases against it.

The majority of the cases that will be considered and concerning Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Rwanda are related to freedom of opinion and expression, judicial assistance and fair trial, with the re-examining of some of the judgments issues against the plaintiffs.

The African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights held its opening session for the 51st session on Monday morning in the capital, in the presence of a large number of ambassadors of African countries accredited to Tunisia and heads of national and regional human rights organisations and bodies and experts and students in the fields of law and rights.

In his remarks, Justice Silvan Ore praised Tunisia's leadership for what he called "a fourth wave of democratic transformation in Africa triggered by the Arab Spring", reiterating that it is a clear proof that the words "Africa" ​​and "democracy" are not contradictory.

The President of the Court said during this session, which runs until December 7, the Court will hear the cases brought before it, which are under consideration in various stages of litigation, whether in deliberations or sentencing.

He noted that “the public will, as usual, be informed of the cases considered and the dates in which the sentences will be pronounced here in Tunisia.”

Minister, Representative of the President of the Republic, Mr. Lazhar Karoui Chebbi delivered an address in the opening session in which he affirmed that Tunisia is a member of the Court, out of its concern since 2011 to embark on the process of democratic building based on human rights, the rule of law, justice and equality.

Chebbi reviewed the various efforts Tunisia has made to uphold the principle of human rights starting with the Constitution, which guarantees the various civil, political, economic and social rights mentioned in the international charters and conventions.

He also provided an overview of the various constitutional bodies that have been created or are in the process of installation in order to uphold human rights and the rule of law.

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