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African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights delivers first Judgment

On Tuesday, 15 December 2009, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights gave its first judgment in the Matter of Michelot Yogogombaye v The Republic of Senegal (Application No. 001/2008).

The Applicant, Michelot Yogogmbaye is a Chadian National who brought this action to prevent the Government of Senegal from conducting the trial of the former Chadian head of State, Hissene Habre in Dakar, Senegal.

The Court decided that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case as Senegal had not made the declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples; Rights (i.e. the African Court Protocol) granting individuals the opportunity to institute cases directly before the Court.

The Court composed of: Mr. Mutsinzi, President; Ms.Akuffo, Vice-President; Ms. Mafoso-Guni, Messrs Ngoepe, Fannoush, Guindo, Niyungeko, Mulenga and Ouguergouz (who gave a separate opinion).

The Senegalese Judge, Judge Judge El Hadj Guissé did not participate in proceedings in view of the Article 22 of the African Court Protocol and Rule 8(2) of the Interim Rules that provide that a judge who is a national of any State which is a party to a case submitted to the Court, cannot hear the case.

The Judgment and the separate opinion are available on the African Court website and can be assessed inFrench and in English.

Update of Ratifications to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights:
Mali has become the second country to ratify the protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. Mali’s instrument of ratification was deposited on 27 August 2009. To date, 18 countries have signed this protocol. 15 countries would need to ratify it before it can come into force. (Information from africancourtcoalition.org)

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