African Human Rights Court Judge ‘positive’ of delivering justice   

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August 2, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Africa
Justice Gerard Niyungeko (centre) explaining the court’s operation

A judge of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights has stated that he was positive about the work of the court in delivering justice.

Justice Gerard Niyungeko is about to take the back seat, having served twice as President of the Court during his distinguished twelve years as judge.

The African Court on Human and People’s Rights is a continental court established by member states of the African Union to enhance the protection of human and people’s rights in Africa.

The court was established pursuant to Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Sierra Leone is among fifty-five (55) African countries that have signed the Protocol, which was adopted on 9 June 1998 and came into force in January 2004. A total of thirty (30) countries have so far ratified the Protocol.

Justice Niyungeko, who is part of a team from the court visiting Sierra Leone and Liberia, said: “I have positive impression of the court because of where we are coming from by making it operational. We have delivered landmark judgments on several matters.”

He was responding to a question as to his impression of the court’s activities as he is about to exit, during an interaction with journalists at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Freetown.

He expressed fervent hope that judges at the court would go on to deliver the right judgments, as according to him, quality judgments are key for international courts.

He said cases brought before the court take long time to adjudicate, admitting their displeasure with such state of affairs, but noted that with the exception of the president and his vice, the other judges work on part time basis.

The Burundi born judge disclosed that they are in Sierra Leone to sensitise officials of the country on the need to join those countries that have ratified the Protocol and make declarations to allow non-governmental organisations and individuals to file cases before the court.