Today is the last day of a judicial dialogue between three judges from three African Courts: the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, and the East Africa Court of Justice. Other participants in the dialogue include representatives from the UN human rights treaty body system, the RWI academic network, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
This dialogue was prompted by the need to effectively disseminate judicial best practices on human rights. Judicial dialogue at the continental level is good, but it needs cooperation from regional and sub-regional bodies. These bodies are best equipped to convey and integrate findings on a domestic level.
Dialogue prevents the continental and regional fragmentation of judicial practices. A less fragmented African judicial system makes it easier to adhere to human rights standards.
Regarding this specific dialogue, the African Court previously established a framework of collaboration and cooperation with the already mentioned benefits of judicial exchange in mind. Three courts signed memorandums of understanding which promote cooperation on all levels.
The three courts agreed to hold regular meetings in the form of consultative forums. There, they would discuss matters of common interest as well as challenges and opportunities for increased cooperation.
The meeting is multilingual. The four official African Union languages (English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic) are represented. They are interactive and take place as paper and panel presentations followed by plenary discussions. Different topics are focused on, with one being the identification of avenues for growth in the form of institutional synergies and strengthened cooperation.
This is the first time these courts have met in such a manner for a knowledge exchange.
This knowledge exchange has received funding from a variety of sources. Among them are the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, SIDA, the GIZ, the KAS, and the OHCHR.