Instruments of the AU

Article 1: Establishment of the Court
There shall be established within the Organization of African Unity an African
Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Court’),
the organisation, jurisdiction and functioning of which shall be governed by
the present Protocol.
Article 2: Relationship between the Court and the Commission
The Court shall, bearing in mind the provisions of this Protocol, complement
the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’
Rights (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’), conferred upon it by the
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, hereinafter referred to as ‘the
Article 3: Jurisdiction
The jurisdiction of the Court shall extend to all cases and disputes
submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the Charter,
this Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the
states concerned.
In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the
Court shall decide.
Article 4: Advisory opinions
At the request of a member state of the OAU, the OAU, any of its organs,
or any African organisation recognised by the OAU, the Court may provide an
opinion on any legal matter relating to the Charter or any other relevant
human rights instruments, provided that the subject matter of the opinion is
not related to a matter being examined by the Commission.
The Court shall give reasons for its advisory opinions provided that every
judge shall be entitled to deliver a separate or dissenting opinion.
Article 5: Access to the Court
The following are entitled to submit cases to the Court:
(a) The Commission;
(b) The state party which has lodged a complaint to the Commission;
(c) The state party against which the complaint has been lodged at the
(d) The state party whose citizen is a victim of a human rights violation;
(e) African Intergovernmental Organisations.
When a state party has an interest in a case, it may submit a request to
the Court to be permitted to join.
The Court may entitle relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
with observer status before the Commission, and individuals to institute cases
directly before it, in accordance with article 34(6) of this Protocol.
Article 6: Admissibility of cases
The Court, when deciding on the admissibility of a case instituted under
article 5(3) of this Protocol, may request the opinion of the Commission which
shall give it as soon as possible.
The Court shall rule on the admissibility of cases taking into account the
provisions of article 56 of the Charter.
The Court may consider cases or transfer them to the Commission.
Article 7: Sources of law
The Court shall apply the provisions of the Charter and any other relevant
human rights instruments ratified by the states concerned.

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