Romy Klimke

Menschenrechtsschutz durch subregionale Integrationsgerichtshöfe in Afrika

Section: Treatises
Archiv des Völkerrechts (AVR)

Volume 59 () / Issue 1, pp. 27-63 (37)
Published 14.05.2021

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Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa are not regarded as human rights organisations, in general. However, contrary to their original mandate of promoting regional economic integration, the courts of the RECs are increasingly developing into major pillars of the African regional human rights system. In the context of the continuing transformation of the RECs from economic to value-centred communities, these sub-regional courts act as guarantors of human rights protection alongside the continental human rights institutions, thereby creating a sub-regional layer of human rights protection. From a human rights perspective, this development proves all the more significant as the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is in danger of sinking into oblivion due to the diminishing support of the African states. However, sub-regional courts turn to human rights largely in an unregulated manner and independently from the continental human rights system. Thereby, the potential of jurisdictional conflicts with other sub-regional courts as well as the institutions under the auspices of the Banjul-Charter increases. This contribution looks at the role of these sub-regional courts within the African human rights system. It concludes that, despite certain dogmatic and regulatory weaknesses and inconsistencies, sub-regional courts contribute meaningfully and progressively to the protection of human rights in Africa and beyond.

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