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No trials for African heads of state

Judge's gavel

Alleged war criminals, including heads of states, cannot be targeted by the newly created African Court of Justice and Human Rights, which once functional will become the legal arm of the African Union.

Rather, the court will rule only on cases brought against states, unlike the International Criminal Court, which issues individual arrest warrants.

Unless a state waives the requirement, alleged victims and NGOs cannot lodge cases against it in the new court without going through the AU, which makes human rights compliance dependent on the regional body, according to an analysis by the UK research group, Chatham House.

As of March 2009 no states have ratified the court, created in July 2008. States are willing to set up pan-African institutions to protect human rights, but are not so eager to “submit themselves to true scrutiny”, Chatham House wrote.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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