African Court for Africans

2014-01-30 18:00

Africa should have its own court and justice structures, president of the African Court Sophia Akuffo has said.

Akuffo told City Press on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) assembly of heads of state in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which started today, that Africans should seek justice locally first before their cases are considered by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“In principle, the more local forum should have the first bite because there is the general principle of exhausting local remedies first,” she said.

“The protection of human rights is first and foremost state duty.”

Akuffo also said “it is time for Africa to have its own justice structures. Once you move in the way of the African Union, you need to have your institutions properly in place”.

The African Court is in the process of extending its jurisdiction to include criminal acts, which means it would overlap with the work of the ICC.

Two obstacles that need to be overcome is to define what the unconstitutional overthrow of a government entails, and getting enough money to take on the extra cases.

A court official who did not want to be identified said the northern countries, where the Arab Spring uprisings took place two years ago, wanted the court to distinguish between popular uprisings and the unconstitutional overthrow of a state.

He also said there would be administrative agreements with the ICC once the African Court has extended its jurisdiction to ensure that the two courts don’t clash while doing their work.

There has been talk within the AU that some member states feel the African Court should eventually replace the ICC.

Last year, the AU resolved that sitting heads of state could not be prosecuted by the ICC after both Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, had to appear before the ICC.

But the Kenyans said if both were out of the country at the same time it could cause a constitutional crisis.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.