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2008 | Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (1 July 2008) & annex The Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights

This Protocol, adopted on the 1 July 2008, replaces the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1998) (link invoegen), and the Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union (2003) (link invoegen). It merges the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights and the Court of Justice of the African Union into one single court established as “The African Court of Justice and Human Rights” (Article 2) comprising two sections; a general affairs section and a human rights section (Article 16).

The Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights is contained in the annex to this Protocol.

Limited access to the Court

A victim seeking remedy for violations of his human or people’s rights de facto has only limted access to the Court: whereas under the Protocol, States Parties have automatic access to the Court, individuals (and non-governmental organizations) do not. They can only submit cases to the Court if the State Party concerned makes a declaration under Article 8(3) of the Protocol, accepting the competence of the Court to hear individual cases as referred to in Article 30(f) of the Statute. However, the modest number of State Parties that have made such declaration - by May 2017, only eight[1] of the thirty States Parties[2] to the Protocol - casts a shadow upon the  right of victims to a remedy.

Right to a remedy

Article 28(h) of the Statute endows the Court with the competence to adjudicate all cases in which the applicant requests reparation for the breach of an international obligation, once submitted to the Court in accordance with the present Statute. But even absent a reparation request from the applicant, the Court my, on its own motion, decide to remedy a breach of a human or peoples’ right, including by granting fair compensation (Article 45 of the Statute).

In June 2014, the Assembly of the African Union adopted a further Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol of the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Malabo Protocol). The Protocol on Amendments – that, as of June 2017 has not yet entered into force due to an insufficient number of ratifications - renames the Court “African Court of Justice and Human and People’s Rights”.


[1] The eight States are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania and Rep. of Tunisia.

[2] The 30 States which have ratified the Protocol are: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.