30 December 2013

Cameroon: African Human Rights Court - Importance of Cameroon's Ratification Explained

The Registrar of the African Court on Human and People's Rights, Cameroonian-born, Robert Eno says for now, Cameroon cannot nominate candidates to the position of judges in the court and benefit from other advantages because the country has not yet ratified the protocol establishing the court and its subsequent declaration. He spoke to reporters in a press briefing at the Yaounde head office of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, on December 28, 2013.

The court, he said, is the only judicial organ of the African Union so far established. The ratification of the protocol and making of the declaration allows individuals and Non-governmental Organisations of the countries concerned direct access to the court with human rights cases. These are cases that have passed through the judicial arsenal of the member countries without a satisfactory ruling.

Robert Eno said Cameroon has a good track record with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights the court has to reinforce. The country has been submitting its periodic reports, received rapporteurs of the Commission and implemented most of its recommendations. He said that Cameroon stands to gain a lot by ratifying the protocol establishing the court. He stated the possibility of the country occupying one of the two positions for judges of the court reserved for the Central African Sub-region and also disclosed that between June and July 2014, the positions of four judges will be vacant.

Cameroon's political will to ratify the protocol was expressed by the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang on April 22, 2013 when he had discussions with the visiting President of the African Court on Human and People's Rights, Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo in Yaounde. Stating that their discussions did not disclose any impediments to the ratification, the court President told reporters that, "We were assured that the administrative processes to bring about the ratification were in place."

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