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African Rights Court Established

December 14, 1997

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) _ African ministers of justice and attorneys-general agreed Sunday to establish a permanent African court on human rights, in hopes of improving individual rights and freedoms on the continent.

Under the proposal, Organization of African Unity member-states and individual citizens who are victims of human rights abuses will be able to lodge complaints to the court against other or their own governments alleged to have violated the rights.

However, it wasn’t clear from the document what decisions or judgements the court can pronounce upon those found to be violating human rights.

The court will be based on the Charter of the African Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is ratified by every member-state.

The proposal will be submitted to the next conference of the OAU ministers, who will in turn submit nominations for the eight judges of the court.

Legal experts from the 53 OAU countries have met three times since 1995 to work out the recommendations and legal framework for the establishment of the court.

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