Only one step away from gaining full access to justice through the African Court. What’s the hold up? Take action now and demand to the Heads of States that have already ratified the African Court’s Protocol to deposit the declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to directly bring cases to the Court.
When the courts at home cannot provide a legal remedy for human rights violations, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is the last resort for you or NGOs to obtain justice. The Court is the judicial arm of the African Union and has been a symbol of justice for many people since it became operational in 2006. The Court has successfully provided justice for people in various human rights violations ranging from the expulsion of an indigenous community from their land, to the forced marriage of girls, to the ill-treatment of a detained immigrant, to the death of a journalist.
Norbert Zongo, a famous investigative journalist from Burkina Faso, two of his associates, and his brother were killed in December 1998. Zongo’s investigations into the death of François Compaoré (the then President’s brother)’s chauffeur may have placed him in the crosshairs of high officials. The Zongo family fought to obtain justice through the national courts for years, but the case was dismissed in 2006. Zongo’s family seized the African Court and in 2014, the Court rendered a judgment condemning Burkina Faso for having failed to ensure justice for Zongo, and then it ordered the State to pay financial reparations to the family of the journalist for the psychological suffering they endured, as well as to resume investigations to find, prosecute and try the perpetrators of Zongo’s murder. This judgment from the African Court created new hope for justice for the families and others. Burkina Faso did comply with the Court’s orders and in 2017, an international arrest warrant was issued against François Compaoré.
All of this was possible because Burkina Faso has deposited the declaration allowing the African Court to accept cases from individuals and NGOs which in turn enabled the family of Norbert Zongo to file the case with the Court.
They are many reasons why a State would not want the African Court to receive complaints by individuals.
All of them work against access to justice and the protection of human rights for all.
The 26 countries that have yet to deposit the declaration allowing the African Court to receive cases from individuals and NGOs, don’t want to be held accountable by their people when they fail to protect their rights – your rights.
It’s time to change that.