A Kenyan national has been elected to a position of vice President for Africa’s court of Human and Peoples rights.
Judge Ben Kioko has been serving at the court in the same position. He was re-elected after collecting 45votes out of 55 of the total cast. The elections were conducted during the start of African Court’s 31st Ordinary Session.
Kioko was first elected as a judge of the African court in July 2012 for a six-year term.
Meanwhile, Judge Aboud Imani of Tanzania (Eastern zone) was also elected to the court replacing Uganda’s Solomon Bossa who has joined the International Criminal Court.
The court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instruments ratified by the states concerned.
Out of the 54 member states of the African Union, only 30 recognise the court. And an even fewer, seven member states, allow NGOs and individuals to file cases. But perhaps, the biggest challenge is that most Africans don’t seem to know the court even exists.
Justice Kioko says that member states compliance is important to effectively enforce court decisions and rulings otherwise,nothing can be done.
“Any international court that you can think of, for example, the International Criminal Court, it is funded by the state parties and it requires the cooperation of states, even to arrest individuals,” says Kioko.
“The International Court of Justice is funded by member states. So, most of the international and regional courts are based on the same concept. You are funded by member states, but at the same time, you are given independence and impartiality… And independence is very important to judges.”