At its 26th Ordinary Session, held from 17 till 28 September 2012, in Arusha, Tanzania, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights elected Her Ladyship Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo as its President. Akuffo, who is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, was elected to the African Court in 2006. In September 2008, she was elected Vice-President and she is now the first female to hold the position of President.
The election of Justice Akuffo as President comes at a crucial time for the African Court. The Court is mandated to ensure protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa by complementing and reinforcing the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Court’s jurisdiction is currently limited to contentious and advisory jurisdiction on human rights issues, but proposed to be extended to include criminal jurisdiction over international crimes. AFLA is confident that the African Court, under the leadership of its new President, will be able to handle the new challenges it faces and grasp the opportunities to contribute to both peace and justice in Africa.