Admissibility
Exhaustion of local remedies – article 56(5)

The only remedies that are required to be exhausted are ordinary judicial remedies
(Abubakari Mohamed v The United Republic of Tanzania, Merits, Application
007/2013, 3 June 2016, para 64; (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
v Kenya, application 006/2012, Judgement, 26 May 2017, para 97). Extra-ordinary
remedies such as special constitutional petitions or a review need not be exhausted
(Wilfred Onyango Nganyi & 9 others v Tanzania v The United Republic of Tanzania,
application 006/2013, judgment, 18 March 2016, para 95; Alex Thomas v United
Republic of Tanzania, application 005/2013, judgment, 20 November 2015, paras 60 –
65; Abubakari Mohamed v The United Republic of Tanzania, Merits, Application
007/2013, 3 June 2016, para 72).
In a case against Malawi the Court held that the complainant in a case of alleged
unfair dismissal had not appealed against a judgment of the Industrial Relations Court
and had therefore not exhausted local remedies (Urban Mkandawire v Republic of
Malawi, application 003/2011, judgment, 21 June 2013, para 40). Judges Niyungeko
and Guissé in a joint dissenting opinion held that the case should have been declared
admissible as the state had not argued that local remedies had not been exhausted and
the issue had been before both the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal before
newproceedings before the Industrial Relations Court. Mr Mkandawire applied for
interpretation and review of the African Court’s judgment. However, this application
was unsucessful (Urban Mkandawire v Republic of Malawi, application 003/2011,
application for interpretation and review of the judgment of 21 June 2013, ruling, 28
March 2014). In a case against Tanzania the Court held that the applicants could not
bypass the Court of Appeal since it had not ruled on the case on the merits (Frank
David Omary and others v The United Republic of Tanzania, application 001/2012,
ruling, 28 March 2014, para 127).
Where the case before the Court deals with alleged violations related to a criminal
trial, the exhaustion of appeals in relation to the criminal trial, where alleged
violations at the trial court has been raised, is sufficient to exhaust local remedies. The
applicant need not make a constitutional challenge (Alex Thomas v United Republic of
Tanzania, application 005/2013, judgment, 20 November 2015, para 60)
An NGO complainant does not have to exhaust local remedies if the organisation is
not entitled to bring an action in the matter before national courts (Beneficiaries of
late Norbert Zongo, Abdoulaye Nikiema alias Ablasse, Ernest Zongo and Blaise
Ilboudo & The Burkinabe human and peoples’ rights movement v Burkina Faso,
application 013/2011, judgment, 28 March 2014).
A local remedy would also deemed ineffective and therefore unavailable if the
applicant has no standing before the institution which has the jurisdiction to grant the

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