African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights issues four judgments and launches code of conduct for lawyers
07/12/2018 19:12, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights issued Friday, under the chairmanship of Ivorian judge Sylvain Ore, at the end of its fifty-first session, four of the seven judgments it had considered during the session.

These judgments relate to cases brought by citizens to the African Court against their States (3 cases against the United Republic of Tanzania and 1 case against Rwanda). These judgments relate to fair trials and violations of human rights.

The hearing was preceded by a session during which the judges gave clarifications and information on the court’s function and its empowerment to a large number of lawyers, judges, law students’ attendees.

The session also launched the Code of Conduct for Lawyers to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Arabic and Portuguese languages for lawyers representing complainants and applicants who require legal assistance.

The Court organised a brief training session for Tunisian Bar Association members to inform them of the objectives of the Code and how Tunisian lawyers could register on the Court's List to represent complainants and applicants in need of judicial assistance, since Tunisia had deposited since last year a declaration allowing NGOs and individuals to apply directly to the African Court.

A similar code of conduct was launched by mid of this year in the Tanzanian capital of Arusha, in English and French

The Code of Conduct, in particular, concerns the general obligations of the lawyer, the obligations of the lawyer towards the client, victims and witnesses, the conduct of the lawyer before the court, professional error and disciplinary measures.

The 51st session, which started on November 12 for a full month, was held outside the Permanent Court in Arusha at the invitation of the Tunisian Government to host it.

The Court is composed of eleven judges, nationals of the States members of the African Union, elected in their personal capacity.

The Tribunal meets four times a year at regular sessions, and special sessions may be held.

Until November 30, 2018, the Court had received 190 petitions, 48 of which were resolved.

On November 23, the Republic of the Gambia deposited the declaration required under article 34 (6) of the Protocol, which allows non-governmental organisations and individuals to apply directly to the African Court.

Hence, Gambia becomes the ninth country to deposit this declaration after Tunisia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali and Tanzania.

The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in June 1998 under Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the establishment of the Court to complete the preventive role of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights with a view to promoting the protection of human rights in the African continent.

Since the adoption of the Protocol, only 30 of the 55 member States of the African Union have ratified it.

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