Accountability from a human rights perspective: The incorporation and enforcement of the right to education in the domestic legal order

Klaus D. Beiter


It has recently been suggested that the age of human rights is over. The West, itself often not respecting human rights, is said to have abused the concept as a tool to retain control over the developing world. Human rights have remained a foreign construct in Africa, the Near East, and Asia. They have “underperformed,” and the level of privation in many parts of the world is more intense than ever. This Article acknowledges elements of truth in these observations, but argues that the battle for human rights is not lost.
Year of publication: 2018

A crisis of design and judicial practice? Curbing state disengagement from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun

In African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 20 (2020), 1-40


In the space of four years, between 2016 and 2020, four of the ten states that had recognised the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to receive cases directly from individuals and NGOs withdrew their declarations made under article 34(6) of the Court Protocol. While this form of contestation is not unprecedented in the history of states’ behaviour towards international courts, this article argues that the disengagement from the African Court’s jurisdiction involves peculiarities that specifically relate to the Court’s system design and its practice. The main contention in the article is that the declarationbased adherence to the African Court’s jurisdiction is in crisis due to a costbenefit imbalance. The article argues that although all four withdrawals resulted from decisions of the Court on important and contentious domestic socio-political issues, systemic features such as the lack of appeal, an overly restrictive review mechanism and the weak functioning of institutional shields contributed significantly to the withdrawal. The article also investigates administration of justice and judicial law making by the Court as factors that contributed to states’ distrust, before proposing options to curb the crisis and regain state adherence

Jurisdictional Fiction? A Dialectal Scrutiny of the  Appelate Competence of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun

It is established case-law of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights that it does not assume appellate jurisdiction over national courts. In several decisions rendered since its inception, the Court has consistently held that, when it examines cases of alleged violations of rights, it merely acts as an international court of first and final instance in vetting the conformity of domestic law and the conduct of municipal organs with international law to which the state concerned is a party. An overview of its jurisprudence however reveals a consistent challenge to the Court’s jurisdiction over cases that Respondent States argue had or should have been settled by domestic courts. The objections raised in related cases have led to a confrontational interaction between the Court and the states involved. On an increasing number of occasions, the ‘interaction crisis’ resulted in a political challenge to the very mandate of the Court and withdrawals or threats to retract from acceptance to its jurisdiction over sovereignty of the state and the integrity of domestic courts. Considering their submissions in respect of this issue, objections raised by Respondent States are genuine and therefore require principled reflections that the limited scope of the Court’s reasoning in individual cases or responses from its Registry do not and have not so far provided. In any event, the dialogue appears to have stalled as one of misunderstanding on the part of states and dilemmas for the Court. In this paper, I attempt to take up Sextus Empiricus’ role in assessing the veracity of both answers to the question whether the African Court exercises an appellate jurisdiction over courts of the Respondent States.

The Making and Remaking of National Constitutions in African Regional Courts

Sègnonna Horace Adjolohoun

In the two decades that followed the entry into force of the African Charter onnHuman and Peoples’ Rights in 1986, the Organisation of the African
Unity—now African Union—and Regional Economic Communities adopted numerous treaties with the primary aim of achieving political and economic integration or fostering human rights. In that context, the stated intergovernmental organisations adopted conventions specifically devoted to attaining common regional standards on democracy, good governance and elections. Considered separately or jointly, the norms thereby developed have set the stage for the regionalisation of principles that traditionally belong to domestic constitutions, such as supremacy of the constitution, rule of law, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, democracy and the protection of fundamental rights. A close examination reveals that the increased activity of the regional judicial institutions entrusted with the interpretation and application of these norms is generating a growing body of jurisprudence, which has the potential of shaping domestic constitutional law and practice. This article interrogates whether, and the extent to which, African regional courts are (re)making constitutions in the region.

Other Publications


Standard Operating Procedures On The Special Mechanisms Of The African Commission On Human And Peoples’ RightsMarch 04 , 2020
African Human Rights Yearbook Volume 3 (2019)December 31 , 2019
Pilot Study On Migration And Respect For Human Rights Focus On The Responses Provided By NigerNovember 25 , 2019
Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa 2019November 10 , 2019
African Human Rights Yearbook Volume 2 (2018)October 26 , 2019
Guidelines On The Right To Water In AfricaJuly 31 , 2019
Study On Transitional Justice And Human And Peoples’ Rights In AfricaApril 28 , 2019
African Human Rights Yearbook Volume 1 (2017)December 29 , 2017
Guidelines On Access To Information And Elections In AfricaNovember 15 , 2017
General Comment No. 4: The Right To Redress For Victims Of Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Punishment Or Treatment (Article 5)March 04 , 2017
Guidelines For The Policing Of Assemblies By Law Enforcement Officials In AfricaMarch 04 , 2017
Principles And Guidelines On Human And Peoples’ Rights While Countering Terrorism In AfricaAugust 03 , 2016
The Right To Nationality In AfricaMay 12 , 2014
Model Law On Access To Information For Africa 2013February 13 , 2013
ECOWAS Declaration On The Fight Against Trafficking In PersonsJanuary 31 , 2012
SADC Declaration On Gender And DevelopmentJanuary 31 , 2012
Basic Principles On The Use Of Force And Firearms By Law Enforcement OfficialsJanuary 27 , 2012
Body Of Principles For The Protection Of All Persons Under Any Form Of Detention Or ImprisonmentJanuary 27 , 2012
C169 Indigenous And Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989January 27 , 2012
Code Of Conduct For Law Enforcement OfficialsJanuary 27 , 2012
Declaration On The Protection Of All Persons From Being Subjected To Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or PunishmentJanuary 27 , 2012
Framework And Guidelines On Land Policy In AfricaJanuary 27 , 2012
Istanbul Protocol – Manual On The Effective Investigation And Documentation Of Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or PunishmentJanuary 27 , 2012
Policy Framework For Pastoralism In AfricaJanuary 27 , 2012
Standard Minimum Rules For The Treatment Of PrisonersJanuary 27 , 2012
United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous PeoplesJanuary 27 , 2012
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules For The Administration Of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules)January 27 , 2012
Guidelines For African Union Electoral Observations And Monitoring MissionsOctober 24 , 2011
Prevention And Eradication Of Violence Against Women And Children (Addendum To The SADC Declaration On Gender And Development)January 31 , 2011
Rules Of Procedure Of The African Commission On Human And Peoples’ Rights Of 2010June 26 , 2010
Pretoria Declaration On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights In AfricaSeptember 17 , 2004
Declaration On Gender Equality In AfricaJuly 08 , 2004
Kigali Declaration, 2003May 08 , 2003
Optional Protocol To The Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or PunishmentDecember 18 , 2002
Ouagadougou Declaration And Plan Of Action On Accelerating Prisons And Penal Reforms In AfricaSeptember 20 , 2002
Constitutive Act Of The African UnionJuly 11 , 2000
Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration And Plan Of Action, 1999April 16 , 1999
United Nations Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment