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So Far, So Fair: The Local Remedies Rule in the Jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2017

Nsongurua J. Udombana*
Affiliation:
Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, Nigeria, udombana@hotmail.com

Extract

Pending the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights remains the only institutional body for the implementation of the rights guaranteed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), reconstituted as the African Union (AU), established the Commission in 1987, after the entry into force of the African Charter, in 1986, and pursuant to its Article 64 (1). The Commission was established, inter alia, “to promote human and peoples' rights and ensure their protection in Africa.” That is, besides “any other tasks which may be entrusted to it” by the Assembly, the Commission performs three primary functions: it promotes and protects human and peoples' rights and interprets the provisions of the Charter.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of International Law 2003

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References

1 On June 9,1998, at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the Organization of African Unity adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission. Doc. OAU/LEG/MIN/AFCHPR/PROT (III) (1998) [hereinafter African Protocol]. The Protocol is available online at the Commission’s Website, <http://www.achpr.org>. The Protocol has not yet entered into force, as the requisite number of ratifications— fifteen (Art. 34(3))—is yet to be obtained. For commentaries on the Protocol, see Mubangizi, John & O’Shea, Andreas, An African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1999 S. Afr. Y.B. Int’l L. 256 Google Scholar; Mutua, Makau, The African Human Rights Court: A Two-legged Stool? 21 Hum. Rts. Q. 342 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Naldi, Gino J. & Magliveras, Konstantinos D., Reinforcing the African System of Human Rights: The Protocol on the Establishment of a Regional Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, 16 Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 431 (1998)Google Scholar; Stimmet, André, A Future African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights and Domestic Human Rights Norms, 1998 S. Afr. Y.B. Int’l L. 233 Google Scholar; Udombana, Nsongurua J., Toward the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Better Late Than Never, 3 Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J. 45 (2000)Google Scholar.

2 Hereinafter “African Commission” or “Commission.”

3 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, June 27, 1981, Doc. OAU/CAB/LEG/67/3/Rev.5, 21 ILM 59 (1982) [hereinafter African Charter]. For literature, see, for example, Oji Umozurike, U., The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1997)Google Scholar; Amoah, Philip, The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights—An Effective Weapon for Human Rights ? 4 Afr. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 226 (1992)Google Scholar; Gittleman, Richard, The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: A Legal Analysis, 22 Va. J. Int’l L. 667 (1982)Google Scholar; Mutua, Makau, The African Human Rights System in a Comparative Perspective, 3 Rev. Afr. Comm’n Hum. & Peoples’ Rts. 5 (1993)Google Scholar; Okere, Obinna, The Protection of Human Rights in Africa and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: A Comparative Analysis with the European and American Systems, 6 Hum. Rts. Q. 141 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Umozurike, U. O., The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 77 AJIL 902 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 OAU, Constitutive Act of the African Union, July 11, 2000, 2000 Afr. Y.B. Int’l L. 479, available at <http://www.au2002.gov.za/docs/key_oau/au_act.htm> [hereinafter AU Act]. The AU Act replaces the Charter of the OAU. Id., Art. 33. The AU was officially launched on July 9, 2002, in Durban, South Africa, with the convening of the inaugural session of the Assembly of the Union. For analysis of the many aspects of the AU (including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)), see generally the following articles by Udombana, Nsongurua J.: Can the Leopard Change Its Spots ? The African Union Treaty and Human Rights, 17 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 1177 (2002)Google Scholar; The Institutional Structure of the African Union: A Legal Analysis, Cal. W. Int’l L. J. (forthcoming); A Harmony or a Cacophony ? The Music of Integration in the African Union Treaty and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, 13 Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 185 (2002); The Unfinished Business: Conflicts, African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, 35 Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev. (forthcoming); How Should We Then Live? Globalization and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, 20 B.U. Int’l L. J. 293 (2002).

5 The Charter was to enter into force “three months after the reception by the Secretary General of the instruments of ratification or adherence of a simple majority of the member states of the Organization of African Unity.” African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 63(3). At present, all member states of the OAU/African Union have ratified the Charter—fifty-three in number—with the exception of Morocco, which withdrew from the OAU in 1984 as a protest against the formal recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic by the OAU. List of Countries Which Have Signed, Ratified/Adhered to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (as at September 2001), AU DOC/OS/(XXV)/INF.9, available at the Commission’s Web site, supra note 1.

6 Id., Art. 64 (1) (providing that” [a]fter the coming into force of the present Charter, members of the Commission shall be elected in accordance with the relevant Articles of the present Charter”).

7 Id., Art. 30.

8 Id., Art. 45(4).

9 Id., Art. 45.

10 See generally Ankumah, Evelyn A., The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Murray, Rachel, The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and International Law (2000)Google Scholar; Bello, Emmanuel, The Mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1 Afr. J. Int’l L. 31 (1988)Google Scholar.

11 African Charter, supra note 3, Arts. 47-49.

12 Id., Art. 55.

13 Only NGOs with observer status at the Commission have the competence to institute proceedings before it. Any “serious” NGO desiring to have observer status must submit a documented application to the Commission’s secretariat showing its willingness and ability to work for the realization of the objectives of the African Charter. It must also provide its status, proof of its legal existence, a list of its members, its last financial statement, and a statement of its activities. The Commission thereafter designates a rapporteur to study the application and, if all necessary documents have been received, the Commission considers the application during any one of its sessions, usually in October and May each year. Afr. Comm’n, Resolution on the Criteria for Granting and Enjoying Observer Status to Non-Governmental Organisations Working in the Field of Human Rights with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 25th Ord. Sess., OAU DOC/OS(XXV)116 (1999), available at <http://www.achpr.org/html/directoryofresolufions/html>.

14 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 45(2).

15 Id., Art. 50; see also Art. 56(5) (in respect of nonstate communications).

16 Cancado Trindade, A. A., The Application of the Rule of Exhaustion of Local Remedies in International Law 1 (1983)Google Scholar.

17 Delbrück, Jost, The Exhaustion of Local Remedies Rule and the International Protection of Human Rights: A Plea for a Contextual Approach, in Des Menschen Recht Zwischen Freiheit und Verantwortung 213, 217 (Jekewitz, Jürgen etal. eds., 1989)Google Scholar.

18 Ireland v. United Kingdom, 25 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 159 (1978); Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law 497 (5fh ed. 1998).

19 Constitutional Rights Project, Civil Liberties Org., and Media Rights Agenda v. Nigeria, Comm. Nos. 140/94, 141/94, 145/95, para. 26,1999-2000 Annual Activity Report [Air. Ann. Act. Rep.], Annex V [hereinafter CRP et al. case]; see also Constitutional Rights Project v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 148/96, para. 7, id.; Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 151/96, para. 11, id. The African Commission’s last five annual reports, covering the years 1997-2002, are available online at <http://www.achpr.org/html/publications.html>. Many of the Commission’s decisions, including quite a few from earlier years, are available online at <http://www.umn.edu/humanrts/africa>.

20 Brownlie, supra note 18, at 498.

21 See Cançado Trindade, supra note 16, at 2.

22 See text at notes 40-50 infra.

23 Amerasinghe, C. F., Local Remedies in International Law 6 n. 12 (1990)Google Scholar.

24 See Cançado Trindade, A. A., Exhaustion of Local Remedies in International Law Experiments Granting a Procedural Status to Individuals in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, 24 Neth. Int’l L. Rev. 373, 391 (1977)Google Scholar.

25 Brownlie, supra note 18, at 497.

26 Delbrück, supra note 17, at 217.

27 Amerasinghe, supra note 23, at 6 n.12.

28 Id. at 2.

29 Interhandel (Switz. v. U.S.), Preliminary Objections, 1959 ICJ Rep. 6, 27 (Mar. 21); see also Certain Norwegian Loans (Fr./ v. Nor.), 1957 ICJ Rep. 9,39 (July 6); Serbian Loans (Fr./Serb.-Croat-Slovn. State), 1929 PCIJ (ser. A) Nos. 20-21, at 19 (July 12); Panevezys-Saldutiskis Railway (Estonia v. Lithuania), 1939 PCIJ (ser. A/B) No. 76, at 18; Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions (Gr. v. UK), 1924 PCIJ (ser. A) No. 2 (Aug. 30), 1927 PCIJ (ser. C) No. 13, at 465.

30 Finnish Shipowners (Fin./Gr. Brit), 3 R.I.A.A. 1479 (1934).

31 Ambatielos Claim (Gr./UK), 12 R.I.A.A. 83 (1956).

32 Peters, Paul, Recent Developments in International Development Law, in The Right to Development in International Law 113, 121 (Chowdhury, Subrata Roy, Denters, Erik M. G., & de Waart, Paul J. I. M. eds., 1992)Google Scholar.

33 Id. at 129.

34 Id. at 118-19.

35 Schwebel, Stephen M. & Gillis Wetter, J., Arbitration and the Exhaustion of Local Remedies, 60 AJIL 484 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36 Peters, supra note 32, at 116.

37 Id. at 131.

38 Id. at 132.

39 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States, Mar. 18, 1965, Art. 26, 17 UST 1270, 575 UNTS 159 [hereinafter ICSID Convention].

40 Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions (Gr. v. UK), 1924 PCIJ (ser. A) No. 2, at 12.

41 See Delbrück, supra note 17, at 218.

42 Brownlie, supra note 18, at 497.

43 Id. (footnote omitted).

44 See Cançado Trindade, supra note 16, at 57.

45 See Interhandel, supra note 29, 1959 ICJ Rep. at 27.

46 Brownlie, supra note 18, at 499; see also Finnish Shipowners, supra note 30; Panevezys–Saldutiskis Railway, supra note 29, at 18 n.76; Anglo–Iranian Oil Co. (UKv. Iran) Jurisdiction, 1952 ICJ Rep. 93,165 (July 22) (Levi Cameiro, J., dissenting). This criterion will be discussed in some detail below in examining the case law of human rights institutions.

47 See Amerasinghe, supra note 23, at 46.

48 See Delbrück, supra note 17, at 219.

49 See Brownlie, supra note 18, at 497.

50 Amerasinghe, supra note 23, at 4 n.11.

51 The International Law Commission’s articles on state responsibility (Art. 33) prefer the phrase “international community as a whole” to simply “international community,” on the ground that the former is more inclusive. The community does not consist exclusively of states but includes nonstate entities to which obligations may be owed, such as the United Nations, the AU, the European Union, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Crawford, James, The ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: A Retrospect, 96 AJIL 874, 888 (2002)Google Scholar; Crawford, James, Peel, Jacqueline, & Olleson, Simon, The ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: Completion of the Second Reading, 12 Eur. J. Int’l L. 963, 973 (2001)Google Scholar. The formulation, however, does not imply that there is such a legal person as the international community, a fallacy exposed by Judge Fitzmaurice in his dissenting opinion in the Namibia case. Legal Consequences of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) Notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970), Advisory Opinion, 1971 ICJ Rep. 16, 241, para. 33 (June 21).

52 See Delbrück, supra note 17, at 224.

53 See generally Grillo Pasquarelli, Enrico, The Question of the Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies in the Context of the Examination of Admissibility of an Application to the European Commission of Human Rights, in Privacy and Human Rights 332 (Robertson, A. H. ed., 1973)Google Scholar; McGovern, Edmond, The Local Remedies Rule and Administrative Practices in the European Convention on Human Rights, 24 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 119 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

54 See Cançado Trindade, supra note 16, at 3.

55 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 47.

56 African Protocol, supra note 1, Art. 5(1); cf. European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, opened for signature Nov. 4, 1950, Art. 33, 213 UNTS 221, as amended by Protocol No. 11 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, May 11,1994,33ILM 960 (1994) (providing that” [a] ny High Contracting Party may refer to the Court any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention and the protocols thereto by another High Contracting Party”) [hereinafter ECHR].

57 See Delbrück, supra note 17, at 222.

58 See, for example, Article 34 of the ECHR, as amended, supra note 56, which provides:

The Court may receive applications from any person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in the Convention or the protocols thereto. The High Contracting Parties undertake not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of this right.

See also African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 55; African Protocol, supra note 1, Art. 5(3) (though individuals and NGOs will have standing before the African court only where the state party has made a declaration to that effect pursuant to Article 34 (6) of the Protocol). For a critique, see Udombana, supra note 1, at 88. See generally Lauterpacht, H., International Law and Human Rights (1950)Google Scholar; Aage Nørgaard, Carl, The Position of the Individual in International Law (1962)Google Scholar; Josef Partsch, Karl, Individuals in International Law, in 1 Encyclopedia of Public International Law 957 (Bernhardt, Rudolf ed., 1992)Google Scholar; Sohn, Louis B., The New International Law: Protection of the Rights of Individuals Rather Than States, 32 Am. U. L. Rev. 1, 17 (1982)Google Scholar. On how and why the human rights ideas resurfaced in the middle of the twentieth century, see Burgers, J. H., The Road to San Francisco: The Revival of the Human Rights Idea in the Twentieth Century, 14 Hum. Rts. Q. 447 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

59 See, e.g., Adede, A. O., A Survey of Treaty Provisions on the Rule of Exhaustion of Local Remedies, 18 Harv. Int’l L. J. 1 (1977)Google Scholar.

60 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 16, 1966, 999 UNTS 171 [hereinafter ICCPR].

61 Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Arts. 2,5 (2) (b), 999 UNTS 302 [hereinafter 1st Protocol]; see also Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dec. 10, 1984, Art. 22(5) (b), 1465 UNTS 85 [hereinafter Torture Convention]; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, opened for signature Mar. 7, 1966, Art. 13(3), 660 UNTS 195; Rivka Schochet, Paula, A New Role for an Old Rule: Local Remedies and Expanding Human Rights Jurisdiction Under the Torture Victim Protection Act, 19 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 223 (1987)Google Scholar.

62 Cançado Trindade, supra note 16, at 3. On the preparatory work for the relevant provisions on local remedies of the ICCPR and its first Optional Protocol, see, for example, the reports of the Commission on Human Rights on its second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth sessions, UN Docs. E/600 (1947), E/800 (1948), E/1371 (1949),E/1681 (1950),E/1992 (1951),E/2256 (1952), and E/2447 (1953), respectively; Long-Range Activities for Children: Communication from the International Labour Organisation, UN Doc. E/1731 (1950); Draft International Covenants on Human Rights, UN Doc. A/C.3/L.412 (1954); Note by the Secretary-General: Draft First International Covenant on Human Rights and Measures of Implementation, UN Doc. A/1384 (1950); Note by the Secretary-General: Draft First International Covenants on Human Rights, UN Doc. A/2714 (1954); Annotation Prepared by the Secretary-General: Draft International Covenants on Human Rights, UN Doc. A/2929 (1955); France–India–United Kingdom–United States of America: Proposal Concerning Measures of Implementation, Establishment of a Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. E/CN.4/474 (1950); Memorandum of the Secretary-General: The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Concluded by Members of the Council of Europe, UN Doc. E/CN.4/524 (1951); Statement Submitted by the World Jewish Congress: Observations on Draft First International Covenant on Human Rights, UN Doc. E/C.2/259/Add. 1 (1950); Memorandum by the Secretary-General: Draft International Covenants on Human Rights and Measures of Implementation, UN Doc. E/CN.4/530/Add. 1 (1952).

63 ICCPR, supra note 60, Art. 41 (1) (c). See generally de Zayas, Alfred, Möller, Jakob Th., & Opsahl, Torkel, Application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Under the Optional Protocol by the Human Rights Committee, 1985 Ger. Y. B. Int’l L. 9 Google Scholar.

64 1st Protocol, supra note 61, Art. 2 (allowing “individuals who claim that any of their rights enumerated in the Covenant have been violated and who have exhausted all available domestic remedies [to] submit a written communication to the Committee for consideration”), & Art. 5 (2) (b) (to the effect that the Committee shall not consider any communications from an individual unless it has ascertained that the individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies).

65 ECHR, supra note 56, Art. 35(1).

66 The ICCPR was modeled after the ECHR.

67 See Akdivar v. Turkey, 23 Eur. H.R. Rep. 143 (1996); Geouffre de la Pradelle v. France, 253–B Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser.A) at 40 (1992).

68 American Convention on Human Rights, opened for signature Nov. 22,1969, Art. 46,1144 UNTS 123 (also known as the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica).

69 Id., Art. 46(2). See generally Buergenthal, Thomas & Shelton, Dinah, Protecting Human Rights in the Americas: Cases And Materials (1995)Google Scholar; Cerna, Christina, The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Its Organisation and Examination of Petitions and Communications, in The Inter-American System of Human Rights 65, 79 (Harris, David J. & Livingstone, Stephen eds., 1998)Google Scholar.

70 Free Legal Assistance Group v. Zaire, Comm. Nos. 25/89, 47/90, 56/91, 100/93, para. 36, 1995-1996 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VIII; see also Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense de Droits de l’Homme [RADDHO] v. Zambia, Comm. No. 71/92, para. 11, 1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X; cf. Cardot v. France, 200 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1991); Schouw Nielsen v. Denmark, 1958-1959 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 412, 438 (Eur. Ct. H.R.) (“the Respondent State must first have an opportunity to redress by its own means within the framework of its own domestic legal system the wrong alleged to have been done to the individual”). See in addition the following communications of the Human Rights Committee (HRC): Nos. 220/1987, T. K. v. France; 222/1987, M. K. v. France; 306/1988, J. G. v. The Netherlands, in 2 Report of the Human Rights Committee 188,122; 127,130; 180,182-83, UN Doc. A/45/40 (1990) [hereinafter HRC 1990 Report]. HRC communication decisions are available online at <http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf>.

71 Malawi Afr. Ass’n v. Mauritania, Comm. Nos. 54/91, 61/91, 98/93,164/97, 210/98, para. 80,1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V; see also Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, Comm. Nos. 48/90, 50/91, 52/91, 89/93, para. 32, id.

72 See Aksoy v. Turkey, 1996–VI Eur. Ct. H.R., paras. 51, 80; Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, supra note 71, para. 32.

73 .See Soc. & Econ. Rights Action Ctr. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 155/96, para. 37, 2001-2002 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V [hereinafter SERAC v. Nigeria].

74 See Akdivar, supra note 67, at 143.

75 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 1; see also Afr. Comm’n, Resolution on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 13th Ord. Sess., para. 2 (1994), reprinted in Documents of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 355 (Rachel Murray & Malcolm Evans eds., 2001) [hereinafter Afr. Comm’n Documents] (calling on “States Parties to the Charter to take concrete measures towards the effective implementation of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights”). The Commission has interpreted Article 1 to mean, inter alia, that a state violates the Charter where it neglects to ensure the rights guaranteed therein, “even if the State or its agents are not the immediate cause of the violation.” Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Liberiés v. Chad, Comm. No. 74/92, para. 20, 1995-1996 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VIII.

76 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, May 23, 1969, Art. 26, 1155 UNTS 331 (providing: “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”).

77 See Civil Liberties Org. (in re Nigerian Bar Ass’n) v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 101/93, para. 15,1994-1995 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VI; cf. Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 129/94, para. 12, 1995-1996 id., Annex VIII (observing, in its denunciation of ouster clauses in decrees promulgated by the Nigerian military government, that “Nigeria cannot negate the effects of its ratification of the [African] Charter through domestic action. Nigeria remains under the obligation to guarantee the rights of Article 7 to all of its citizens.”).

78 Malawi Afr. Ass’n, supra note 71, para. 83; cf. Young, James, & Webster v. United Kingdom, Merits, 44 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser.A) (1981) (finding a violation of ECHR Article 11—right not to join a trade union—when the law permitted dismissal for such a refusal).

79 See, e.g., Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, supra note 76, para. 14.

80 General Guidelines Regarding the Form and Contents of Reports from States on Civil and Political Rights, para. 4(iii), (iv), 1988-1989 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X [hereinafter General Guidelines]. The guidelines were issued pursuant to the African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 62, providing that “ [e]ach State Parry shall undertake to submit every two years, from the date the present Charter comes into force, a report on the legislative or other measures taken with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed by the present Charter.”

81 ECHR, supra note 56, Art. 1.

82 In general, the state has the discretion to determine the manner of incorporation. This is the approach adopted by the Human Rights Committee, which has held, for example, that the instrument leaves it to the states to decide the manner of incorporation. HRC, General Comment 3 (13) (Article 2: Implementation at the National Level), m Report of the Human Rights Committee, UN GAOR, 36th Sess., Supp. No. 40, at 109, UN Doc. A/36/40 (1981), available at <http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf>; see McGoldrick, Dominic, The Human Rights Committee: Its Role in the Development of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 270 (1994)Google Scholar. It is also the approach adopted by the Strasbourg institutions. See, e.g., Observer and The Guardian v. United Kingdom, 216 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1991). Contra Sørensen, Max, Obligations of a State Party to a Treaty as Regards Its Municipal Law, in Human Rights in National and International Law 11 (Robertson, A. H. ed., 1968)Google Scholar. According to Sorensen:

[T]he Convention contains clauses whose wording and origin incline us to the conclusion that States are bound to incorporate the actual text of the Convention, or Section 1 at least, into their own law. Article 1 has been quoted in support of this argument. . . . [I]t is argued that the Convention therefore confers immediately “subjective rights” on individuals and that not solely by the intermediary of national legislation. This view is upheld by a comparison of the final text of Article 1 with an earlier version whereby the Contracting States “shall undertake to ensure” to everybody the rights and freedoms guaranteed. Such an undertaking would have been purely between States and an individual would not have been able to rely on it in a national court.

In support of the same theory Article 13 is also invoked. . . . This . . . presupposes that the Convention is a part of municipal law.

Id. at 20.

83 Ireland v. United Kingdom, 25 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 239 (1978).

84 Swedish Engine Drivers’ Union, 20 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1976).

85 Law of the European Convention on Human Rights 24 (Harris, D. J. et al. eds., 1995)Google Scholar.

88 1 Oppenheim’s International Law 81 (Jennings, Robert & Watts, Arthur eds., 9th ed. 1992)Google Scholar.

87 ECHR, supra note 56, Art. 13.

88 Klass v. Germany, 28 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 29, para. 64 (1978).

89 See also Matthews v. United Kingdom, No. 28576/95 (1996), available at <http://www.echr.coe.int> (allegation that applicant peace campaigner’s telephone calls had been intercepted). See generally Silver v. United Kingdom, 61 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1983).

90 See, mutatis mutandis, X v. United Kingdom, 46 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 26, para. 60 (1981); Van Droogenbroeck v. Belgium, 50 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 32, para. 56 (1982).

91 Friendly settlement, however, depends on two criteria, one subjective and the other objective:

Subjectively, the parties must be satisfied with the result, a difficult standard to meet given that the interests and aims of the victims and perpetrators of violations are often at odds. Objectively, both parties are called upon to act in good faith so as to bring about a resolution which “remedies the prejudice complained of.”

Anselm Odinkalu, Chidi, The Individual Complaints Procedures of the African Commission on Human and Peoples ‘Rights: A Preliminary Assessment, 8 Transnat’l L. & Contemp. Probs. 359, 37475 (1998)Google Scholar.

92 E.g., African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 48.

93 African Protocol, supra note 1, Art. 9; cf. ECHR, supra note 56, Art. 38(1) (b).

94 Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Amended), adopted Oct. 6, 1995, Rule 98, Doc. ACHPR/RPT/XIX, available at <http://heiwww.unige.ch/humanrts/africa/rules.htm> [hereinafter Rules]; cf. European Court of Human Rights, Rules of Procedure, Rule 62 (Oct. 2002) [hereinafter Eur. Ct. H.R. Rules].

95 Free Legal Assistance Group v. Zaire,.supra note 70, para. 39.

96 Id. Indeed, “constructive dialogue” is central to all of the Commission’s activities, including its state reporting procedures. See, e.g., Guidelines for National Periodic Reports, para. 2, 1988-1989 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex XII, reprinted in Afr. Comm’n Documents, supra note 75, at 49 (providing: “The urgent desire of the Commission is that this system of periodic reports would create a channel for constructive dialogue between the States and itself on human and peoples’ rights.”).

97 Afr. Comm’n on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Communication Procedure: Information Sheet No. 3, at 13 (n.d.) [hereinafter COMM. PROCEDURE].

98 The Christian religion expounds this same philosophy, though within the realm of individuals: “Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison.” Matthew 5:25.

99 See, e.g., African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 58(1), (2) (providing for the Commission to undertake an in-depth study in cases of a series of serious or massive violations of human rights and to make a factual report, accompanied by its finding and recommendations).

100 Viljoen, Frans, Admissibility Under the African Charter, in The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The System in Practice, 1986-2000, at 61, 62 (Evans, Malcolm D. & Murray, Rachel eds., 2002)Google Scholar.

101 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 56.

102 International Pen [sic] on behalf of Ken Saro-Wiwajr. v. Nigeria, Comm. Nos. 137/94,139/94,154/96,161/97, para. 72,1998-1999 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V [hereinafter Saro-Wiwa case]. See generally Gye-Wado, Onje, The Rule of Admissibility Under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 3 Afr. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 742 (1991)Google Scholar; Odinkalu, Chidi & Christensen, Camilla, The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Development of Its Non-State Communication Procedure, 20 Hum. Rts. Q. 235 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Viljoen, supra note 100.

103 Comm. Procedure, supra note 97, at 11.

104 Malawi Afr. Ass’n, supra note 71, para. 77; see also Amnesty Int’l, supra note 71, para. 28.

105 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 55(2).

106 All the communications that have gone up to admissibility stages before the Commission are from nonstate entities. Diplomatic and economic ties between member states, plus the fact that African leaders tend to maintain intensive social relations among themselves, discourage the initiation of “hostile” actions. However, one commissioner is reported to have voiced his frustration during an examination of the state report of The Gambia, that

in Africa there are widespread practices of violations of human rights[,] and right in the neighbourhood of Gambia, there are violations going on. But the Gambia, the big champion of human rights, has not raised a finger, has not brought any complaint before this Commission What practical use does the Gambia make of Article 45 [sic], which enables it to table a complaint against an offending sister state?

3 Danish Centre for Human Rights, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Examination of State Reports: Gambia—Zimbabwe—Senegal, 12th Session, October 1992, at33 (1995); see also Murray, supra note 10, at 65.

107 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 50 (with respect to states’ applications), Art. 56(5) (with respect to non-state applications).

108 See, e.g., Buyingo v. Uganda, Comm. No. 8/88,1994-1995 Afr. Ann. Act Rep., Annex VI; Kofi v. Ghana, Comm. No. 6/88,1993-1994 id., Annex IX; International PEN v. Malawi, Comm. No. 19/88, id.; Union Nationale de Libéation de Cabinda v. Angola, Comm. No. 24/89, id.; Austrian Comm. Against Torture v. Burundi, Comm. No. 26/89, id.; see also Association Internationale des Juristes Démocrates v. Ethiopia, Comm. No. 28/89, id.; Ntaka v. Lesotho, Comm. No. 33/89, id.; International PEN v. Malawi, Comm. No. 42/90, id.; Comité Loosli Bachelard v. Morocco, Comm. No. 51/91, noted at <http://www.dcregistry.com/users/ACHPR/index3.html>.

109 See, e.g., Center for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers V.Yugoslavia, Comm. No. 3/88,1993-1994 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex IX; Prince J. N. Makoge v. USA, Comm, No. 5/88, id.; Eugene v. USA, Comm. No. 37/90, id.; Parish v. Indonesia, Comm. No. 38/90, id. The submission of complaints against non-African countries has been attributed to the lack of information about the Commission at its inception. With the passage of time, NGOs acquainted themselves with its work. Viljoen, Frans, Overview of the African Regional Human Rights System, in 1998 Human Rights Law in Africa 128, 16566 n.238Google Scholar. However, it also indicated the anxiousness with which brutalized Africans wanted to seek redress before international tribunals.

110 Rules, supra note 94, Rule 102(2).

111 In June 2002, Ms. Fiona Adolu, a legal secretary with the Commission in The Gambia, supplied this information to the author, who remains grateful to her.

112 These deficiencies include the lack of effective access to the Commission by individuals; the facts that the Commission has no enforcement powers and that its recommendations are not taken seriously by states parties; the invisibility of the Commission’s work because of the confidential requirements of the African Charter under Article 59, among other things. Other shortcomings are lack of independence, as the proceedings are heavily dependent on the Heads of State and Government, and lack of resources, as the Commission is grossly underfunded by member states and suffers from poor working methods. Udombana, supra note 1, at 66-72.

113 Those declared inadmissible for nonexhaustion of local remedies within the period were Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 45/90,1993-1994 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex IX; Capitao v. Tanzania, Comm. No. 53/90, id.; Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights v. Tanzania, Comm. No. 66/92, id.; Aturu v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 72/92, id.; Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Univs. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 107/93, id.; Manjang v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 131/94, id.; Ceesay v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 86/93,1994-1995 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VI; Haye v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 90/93, id.; Int’l PEN v. Sudan, Comm. No. 92/93, id.; Dumbaya v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 127/94, id.; Int’l PEN on behalf of Senn and Sangare v. Côte d’Ivoire, Comm. No. 138/94, id.; Modise v. Botswana, Comm. No. 97/93, 1995-1996 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VIII; Kenya Hum. Rts. Comm’n v. Kenya, Comm. No. 135/94, id.

114 Viljoen, supra note 109, at 165-66.

115 Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights: Survey of Activities 2001, at 29, available at <http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/InfoNotesAndSurveys.htm>.

116 Id.

117 Scheinin, Martin, The Human Rights Committee—Trends and Developments, Eu-Ret & Menneskeret, June 2000, at 69, 72Google Scholar.

118 Id.

119 Viljoen, supra note 100, at 63.

120 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 56(5) (emphasis added); cf. 1st Protocol, supra note 61, Art. 5 (2) (b); Torture Convention, supra note 61, Art. 22(5).

121 Ankumah, supra note 10, at 67.

122 Malawi Afr. Ass’n, supra note 71, para. 85; cf. Cardot v. France, supra note 70, para. 34; Guzzardi v. Italy, 39 Eur. Ct. H.R (ser.A) para. 72 (1980) (stating that it applied the rule with “a certain degree of flexibility and without excessive regard for matters of form”).

123 Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, supra note 71, para. 31.

124 Piergigli, Valeria, The Reception of Liberal Constitutionalism and “Universal” Values in the African Bills of Rights: Ambiguities and Perspedives in the Turn of the Millennium §9–C, trans. a <http://www.eur.nl/frg/iacl/papers/piergigli.html> visited Jan. 24, 2003)Google Scholar. See generally 1997 Human Rights Law in Africa (discussing human rights protection enshrined in laws of African countries as of Jan. 1997); 1996 Human Rights Law in Africa (same, as of Jan. 1996).

125 Piergigli, supra note 124, §9–C (citing the Constitutions of Cape Verde, Art. 313; Ghana, Art. 290(1) (h)).

126 Id. The constitutional courts are authorized to enforce fundamental rights by the Constitutions of Benin, Art. 114; Gabon, Art. 83; Mali, Art. 85; Togo, Art. 99; Equatorial Guinea, Art. 95(c). Id. n.21.

127 Id. They are the Constitutions of Burundi, Art. 39; Senegal, Art. 81; Burkina Faso, Art. 125; Congo, Art. 137; Algeria, Art. 139; Rwanda, Art. 33; Mali, Art. 8(1); Togo, Art. 113; the Central African Republic, Art. 78; Mauritania, Art. 91; the Ivory Coast, Art. 12; Angola, Art. 121; São Tomé (as amended), Art. 103(2); Mozambique, Art. 161; the Comoros, Art. 66; Djibouti, Art. 71; and Chad, Art. 148. Id.

128 Piergigli, supra note 124, §9–C (citing Constitutions of Uganda, Art. 50(2); South Africa, Art. 38(c)).

129 Id. n.22 (citing Constitutions of Burkina Faso, Art. 127; Niger, Art. 101).

130 Id. (citing Constitutions of Congo, Art. 148; Benin, Art. 122; Burundi, Art. 153; Central African Republic, Art. 70(3); Djibouti, Art. 80; Cape Verde, Art. 19; Seychelles (as amended), Art. 130; Liberia, Art. 26 (instituting a specific Claim Court)).

181 Attacks on Justice: The Harassment and Persecution of Judges and Lawyers 9 (Rishmawied, Mona A.., 10th ed. 2000)Google Scholar.

132 Id. at 10, 234-35.

133 Udombana, Nsongurua J., The Rule of Law and the Rule of Man in a Military Dictatorship, in Current Themes in Nigerian Law 73, 81 (Agbede, I. O. & Akanki, E. O. eds., 1997)Google Scholar.

134 Lester, Lord, The Challenge of Bangalore: Making Human Rights a Practical Reality, 1999 Eur. Hum. Rts. L.R. 273, 277 (1999)Google Scholar. See generally Sithole, Masipula, Fighting Authoritarianism in Zimbabwe, 12 J. Democracy 160 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

135 See Van Dijk, P. & Van Hoof, G. J. H., Theory and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights 81 (2d ed. 1990)Google Scholar.’

136 Austria v. Italy, App. No. 788/60, 1961 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 116 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R.).

137 Id. at 148-52; see also Cyprus v. Turkey, App. Nos. 6780/74, 6950/75, 1975 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 82, 100 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R.).

138 Rules, supra note 94, Rule 116; cf. Human Rights Committee, Rules of Procedure, Rules 80(1) (f), 90(2) (regarding 1st Protocol, supra note 61, Art. 5(2) (2)); Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Rules of Procedure, Rules 84(1) (f), 91 (e). For the Rules of Procedure of the treaty committees, see UN Doc. HRI/GEN/3 (2001), available at <http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf>. Even bodies not set up pursuant to a treaty require the exhaustion of local remedies. E.g., Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Res. l/XXIV, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1970, at 51, para. 4(b) (1971); Manke, H. I., Comment, The Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies in the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, 24 Buffalo L. Rev. 643 (1975)Google Scholar; see also Decisions Adopted by the Executive Board at Its 104th Session, UNESCO Doc. 104 EX/Decisions, Dec. 3.3, at 12, 14 (1978) (containing conditions and procedures of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which is charged with examining communications on human rights violations within the competence of UNESCO; paragraph 14(a) (ix) provides: “Communications shall be deemed admissible if they meet the following conditions:. . . the communication must indicate whether an attempt has been made to exhaust available domestic remedies with regard to the facts which constitute the subject-matter of the communication and the result of such an attempt, if any . . . “ ) .

139 See Ceesay v. The Gambia, supra note 113; Dumbaya v. The Gambia, supra note 113.

140 Afr. Comm’n on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Guidelines on the Submission of Communications: Information Sheet No. 2, at 17 (n.d.). For interstate applications, the applicant state is additionally expected to indicate measures taken to resolve the matter amicably, why they failed, or why they were not taken at all. Id. at 14.

141 Id. at 17.

142 Rules, supra note 94, Rule 117(1).

143 Esclaves v. Mauritania, Comm. No. 198/97, para. 16, 1998-1999 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

144 Egyptian Org. for Human Rights v. Egypt, Comm. No. 201/97, para. 15, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

145 SERAC v. Nigeria, supra note 73, para. 40.

146 Eur. Ct. H.R., Rules, supra note 94, Rule 47(1) (f); see also id., Rule 46(d) (regarding interstate applications).

147 The 1503 procedure is a confidential procedure for dealing with communications relating to gross and attested violations of human rights. ECOSOC Res. 1503 (XLVIII), UN ESCOR, 48thSess.,Supp. No. 1A, at 8, para. 6(b) (i), UN Doc. E/4832/Add.l (1970). It does not deal with individual cases as such, but with situations that affect a large number of people over a protracted period of time. A working group of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, known as the Working Group on Communications, reviews the communications and, if they are admissible, refers them to the Subcommission. Admissible communications may originate with a person or group of people who claim to be victims of human rights violations or with a person or group of people having direct, reliable knowledge of the violations.

148 Luisa Bartolomei, Maria, Gross and Massive Violations of Human Rights in Argentina 1976-1983: An Analysis of the Procedure Under Ecosoc Resolution 1503, at 71 (1994)Google Scholar.

149 Leach, Philip, Taking a Case to the European Court of Human Rights 79 (2001)Google Scholar (quoting Earl Spencer and Countess Spencer v. United Kingdom, App. Nos. 28851/95, 28852/95 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R. 1998)).

150 See Guzzardi v. Italy, supra note 122.

151 See Cardotv. France, supra note 70, para. 34.

132 See, e.g., Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights v. Tanzania, supra note 113.

153 Haye v. The Gambia, supra note 113.

154 Id., para. 2.

155 Id., para. 5.

156 Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, supra note 113.

157 Odinkalu & Christensen, supra note 102, at 256; see also Kenya Hum. Rts. Comm’n v. Kenya, supra note 113. Contra Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Univs. v. Nigeria, supra note 113. In Capitao v. Tanzania, Comm. No. 53/91, para. 3, 1994–1995 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VI, the Commission declined to consider the communication for lack of exhaustion of local remedies. The case on which the communication was based had been concluded before the national courts in favor of the applicant, although, “as an individual holding a judgement against a foreign state which refuses to pay, he has no recourse.” Id., para. 2. This decision has been criticized on the ground that, in the light of the applicant’s predicament, the Commission failed “to shed any light on which domestic remedies it had in mind for the applicant to exhaust.” Odinkalu & Christensen, supra, at 257.

158 Comité Culturel pour la Démocratic au Benin, Hilaire, and Diawara v. Benin, Comm. Nos. 16/88,17/88,18/88, para. 3, 1993-1994 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex IX.

159 See Deweer v. Belgium, 35 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 26 (1980); De Wilde, Ooms, and Versyp v. Belgium, 12 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 60 (1971).

160 Raddho v. Zambia, supra note 70, para. 12.

161 See, e.g., Committee on Torture, Rules of Procedure, Rule 108(7), available at <http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf>; see also Velásquez Rodríguez, Preliminary Objections, 1 Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) para. 88 (1987).

162 Cf. Exceptions to the Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies, Advisory Opinion OC–11/90,11 Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 42 (1990) [hereinafter Opinion OC–11/90].

163 Rules, supra note 94, Rule 118(2).

164 Capitao v. Tanzania, Comm. No. 53/91, supra note 157, para. 3.

165 Kolompar v. Belgium, 235–C Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 31 (1992).

166 See, for example, Loayza Tamayo and Castillo Páez cases, Preliminary Objections, 25 & 24 Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) (1996).

167 Buergenthal, Thomas, The European and Inter-American Human Rights Courts: Beneficial Interaction, in Protecting Human Rights: The European Perspective 123, 127 (Mahoney, Paul et al. eds., 2000)Google Scholar.

168 In re Viviana Gallardo, 1 Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1984).

169 Buergenthal, supra note 167, at 127.

170 Id.

171 Viljoen, supra note 100, at 83-84. This definition, however, does not cover those procedures in which one does not claim a right but attempts to obtain a favor. See Constitutional Rights Project [CRP] v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 60/91, 1994-1995 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VI; Van Dijk & Van Hoof, supra note 135, at 133.

172 Ambatielos Claim, supra note 31, at 120.

173 Jawara v. The Gambia, Comm. Nos. 147/95, 149/96, para. 31, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V; cf. Hashman and Harrup v. United Kingdom, 30 Eur. H.R. Rep. 241 (2000); Steel and Others v. United Kingdom, 28 Eur. H.R. Rep. 603 (1999).

174 Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language 102 (1989) [hereinafter Webster’s] .

175 Longman Synonym Dictionary 82 (1986) [hereinafter Longman].

176 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 32; see also Stögmüller Case, 9 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 42 (1969); HRC Comm. No. 70/1980, Cubas v. Uruguay, in 1 Selected Decisions Under the Optional Protocol 130, UN Doc. CCPR/C/OP/1 (1985), UN Sales No. 89.XIV.1.

177 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 33.

178 Id., para. 34; see also HRC Comm. No. 113/1981, C. F. v. Canada, in 2 Selected Decisions of the Human Rights Committee Under the Optional Protocol 13,UN Doc.CCPR/C/OP/2,UNSalesNo.89.XlV.l (1990) [hereinafter 2 Selected Decisions]; Comm. No. 164/1984, Croes v. The Netherlands (Nov. 16, 1988), available at Web site, supra note 70.

179 SERAC v. Nigeria, supra note 73, para. 37.

180 CRP e t al case supra note 19, para. 28; see also Constitutional Rights Project and Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, Comm. Nos. 143/95, 150/96, para. 18, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V (“On their face, ouster clauses remove the right of courts to review decrees.”).

181 The significance of the Commission’s denouncing of such executive actions is that future claimants could rely on the experience of individuals who have successfully tested the local remedies rule, that is, on what in common law jurisprudence is called precedent. This strategy would obviate the burden of proof with regard to the futility of exhausting local remedies. See Greece v. United Kingdom, 1958-1959 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 186 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R.) (Second Greek case).

182 Constitutional Rights Project and Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 102/93, para. 4,1998-1999 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V. Other decrees giving legal backing to the annulment of the election were the Presidential Election (Basic Constitutional and Transitional Provisions) (Repeal), Decree No. 39, 1993; Transition to Civil Rule (Disqualification and Prohibition of Certain Presidential Aspirants) (Repeal), Decree No. 42, 1993.

183 Constitutional Rights Project and Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, supra note 182, paras. 6-7.

184 Id., para. 40.

185 Id., para. 43 (quoting Civil Liberties Org. v. Nigeria, supra note 76).

186 Constitutional Rights Project v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 153/96, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

187 Id., para. 2.

188 Id., para. 8.

189 Id., para. 10. See also Center for Free Speech v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 206/97,1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V, where the complaint alleged the unlawful arrest, detention, trial, and conviction of four Nigerian journalists by a military tribunal that ousted the jurisdiction of regular courts over appeals of its decisions. The journalists were tried in secret and denied access to their counsel of choice. They were subsequently sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, id., paras. 1-5. While deciding on the admissibility of the communication, in particular on whether domestic remedies had been exhausted, the Commission, relying on its earlier jurisprudence, maintained that local remedies “were non-existent or ineffective,” id., para. 10.

190 Modise v. Botswana, Comm. No. 97/93, 1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X.

191 Id., para. 19.

192 Id., paras. 20-21.

193 Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, supra note 71, para. 38.

194 Malawi Afr. Ass’n, supra note 71, para. 85.

195 See, e.g., Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés v. Chad, supra note 75; Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture and Association Internationale desjuristes Démocrates, Commission Internationale desjuristes (C.I.J.), Union Interafricaine des Droits de l’Homme v. Rwanda, Comm. Nos. 27/89, 46/91, 49/91, 99/93,1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X (“in view of the vast and varied scope of the violations alleged and the large number of individuals involved, the Commission holds that remedies need not be exhausted and, as such, declares the communications admissible”; id., para. 17).

196 Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, supra note 71, para. 83 (adding that” [t]o change so many laws, policies and practices [in Sudan] will of course not be a simple matter”; id.).

197 Id., para. 5.

198 Id., para. 34.

199 Id., para. 39.

200 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 35.

201 Id., para. 1.

202 Id., para. 29.

203 Id., para. 34.

204 Id., para. 40.

205 Id.

206 Id., para. 36.

207 Legal Defence Centre v. Gambia, Comm. No. 219/98, para. 2, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

208 Id., para. 5.

209 Id., para. 4.

210 Id., para. 8.

211 Id., para. 16.

212 E.g., Abubakar v. Ghana, Comm. No. 103/93, para. 6, 1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X (where, in declaring the communication admissible, the Commission observed that since the complainant was residing outside the respondent state, “it would not be logical to ask the complainant to go back to Ghana in order to seek a remedy from national legal authorities”).

213 Legal Defence Centre v. Gambia, supra note 207, para. 17.

214 HRC Comm. No. 155/1983, Hammel v. Madagascar, 2 Selected Decisions, supra note 178, at 179.

215 Zwart, Tom, The Admissibility of Human Rights Petitions: The Case Law of the European Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee 18990 (1994)Google Scholar.

216 Brozicek Case, 167 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 17 (1989); Case of Padovani, 257–B Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 20 (1993); Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen, and Pedersen v. Denmark, 23 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 22-23 (1976).

217 Greece v. United Kingdom, App. No. 176/56, 1958-1959 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 182, 184 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R.).

218 Cyprus v. Turkey, supra note 137.

219 De Jong, Baljet, and Van den Brink v. The Netherlands, 8 Eur. H.R. Rep. 20 (1986) (Commission report) [hereinafter Dejong case].

220 See also Van Oosterwijck v. Belgium, 3 Eur. H.R. Rep. 557 (1981), where the Court held, in relation to one form of redress raised by the government, that in the absence of any decided domestic cases, the applicant could not be blamed for failing to bring such an action.

221 Webster’s, supra note 174, at 455.

222 Longman, supra note 175, at 82.

223 Jawarav. The Gambia, supra note 173, paras. 32, 38; see also Comm. No. 306/1988,J. G. v. The Netherlands, 2 HRC 1990 Report, supra note 70, at 182-83; HRC Comm. Nos. 210/1986, 225/1987, Pratt and Morgan v. Jamaica, available at Web site, supra note 70; Opinion OC–11/90, supra note 162, para. 36; cf. Torture Convention, supra note 61, Art. 22(5) (b) (providing, inter alia, that local remedies need not be exhausted if they are “unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who is the victim”).

224 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 35; Zwart, supra note 215, at 190 (citing Vernillo v. France, 198 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 12 (1991); Ciulla Case, 148 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 15 (1989); Dejong case, supra note 219, at 20; Van Droogenbroeck v. Belgium, supra note 90, at 30).

225 See Interhandel, supra note 29.

226 Cudjoe v. Ghana, Comm. No. 221/98, para. 13,1998-1999 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V. It is not clear, however, if traditional African dispute settlement mechanisms, such as customary courts, will be regarded as “courts of a judicial nature” for the purposes of the exhaustion of local remedies. But there is no reason to deny the decisions of such courts juridical force, if the basic laws of the country recognize them as proper means of dispute settlement.

227 Id.

228 Brownlie, supra note 18, at 500.

229 See, e.g., Klaas v. Germany, 18 Eur. H.R. Rep. 305 (1994).

230 See Manjang v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 131/94, 1993-1994 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex IX.

231 Pagnoulle v. Cameroon, Comm. No. 39/90, 1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X.

232 Id., para. 4.

233 Id., para. 14.

234 Cudjoe v. Ghana, supra note 226, para. 13.

235 Rights Int’l v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 215/98, para. 24, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V; cf. Kadelbach, Stefan, Nuclear Testing and Human Rights, 14 Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 389, 397 (1996)Google Scholar (criticizing the refusal of the European Commission of Human Rights to grant relief when inhabitants of French Polynesia filed a complaint against the French decision to resume underground testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. One of the reasons for the rejection of the complaint, according to the Commission, was the failure of the applicants to exhaust local remedies before the Conseil d’Etat. However, as the author maintained,” [t] he practice of the Conseil d’Etat to deny standing [to individuals] is firm, well established, and has been reiterated of late, so that it clearly would have been useless to refer the applicants to the French courts”; id.).

236 Amnesty Int’l v. Sudan, supra note 71, para. 33.

237 Id., para. 34.

238 Id., para. 37.

239 Finnish Shipowners, supra note 30.

240 During World War I, the Russian government had requisitioned certain ships belonging to Finnish shipowners that were transferred to the British government and used in the service of the Allies.

241 Finnish Shipowners, supra note 30, at 1543.

242 Id. at 1503-04.

243 Aminu v. Nigeria, Coram. No. 205/97, paras. 1, 2, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

244 Id., para. 4. The decree in question permitted the Nigerian government to detain any person it suspects of being engaged in acts prejudicial to state security; it contained clauses ousting the jurisdiction of the civil courts to entertain any question relating to the decree.

245 Id., para. 13.

246 Id.

247 RADDHO v. Zambia, supra note 70.

248 Id., para. 13.

249 Id., para. 14.

250 Id., para. 11.

251 Id., para. 14.

252 Diakité v. Gabon, Comm. No. 73/92, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V.

263 Id., para. 1.

254 Id.

255 Id., para. 15.

256 Id., para. 17.

257 Id., para. 6.

258 Id., para. 5.

259 Id., para. 17.

260 Dworkin, Ronald, Taking Rights Seriously 116 (1978)Google Scholar. See generally Dworkin, Ronald, Law’s Empire (1986)Google Scholar, A Matter of Principle (1985).

261 Anselm Odinkalu, Chidi, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Recent Cases, 1 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 97, 100 (2001)Google Scholar.

262 People’s Democratic Org. for Independence and Socialism v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 44/90, 1996-1997 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X.

263 Id., para. 5.

264 Id., para. 14.

265 Ankumah, supra note 10, at 69. She also argues that such a requirement would be inconsistent with the idea that the African Charter provides a forum to cater to the special needs of Africans. Id.

266 Id. at 70; see also Butler, Andrew S., Legal Aid Before Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies, 49 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 360 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

267 Conclusions and Recommendations of the Seminar on the National Implementation of die African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the Internal Legal Systems in Africa, para. 6(c) (Oct. 26-30, 1992), 1992-1993 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VIII, reprinted in Afr. Comm’n Documents, supra note 75, at 270,272 [hereinafter Seminar on Implementation] (recommending that “the question of legal aid and recourse procedures should be accorded greater attention in the work of the African Commission and that States and NGOs should take the initiative to promote the establishment of legal aid services”).

268 Ankumah, supra note 10, at 70. Not surprisingly, the Commission has not consistently interpreted lack of financial means to pursue local remedies. It reversed itself in one case, finally declaring it inadmissible because the NGO that assisted the complainant could have helped him in that regard, implying that NGOs are rich and can be presumed to have sufficient resources to exhaust local remedies. Africa Legal Aid v. The Gambia, Comm. No. 207/97 (Apr. 23-May 7, 2001), available at <http://www.umn.edu/humanrts/africa>.

269 Opinion OC–11/90, supra note 162, para. 42.

270 Zwart, supra note 215, at 189 (citing HRC Comm. No. 250/1987, Reid v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. Nos. 226/ 1987, 256/1987, Michael and McLean v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. No. 276/1988, Ellis v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. No. 283/1988, Little v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. No. 293/1988, Hibbert v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. No. 349/1989, Wright v. Jamaica; HRC Comm. No. 237/1987, Gordon v. Jamaica, all available at Web site, supra note 70).

271 See, e.g., Airey v. Ireland, 32 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1979); Faulkner v. United Kingdom, App. No. 30308/96 (Eur. Ct. H.R. Feb. 26, 1997).

272 Panevezys-Saldutiskis Railway, supra note 29.

273 Gussenbaur v. Austria, App. No. 4897/71, 42 Eur. Comm’n H.R. Dec. & Rep. 41, 47 (1973).

274 E.g., HRC Coram. No. 220/1987, supra note 70, at 122; HRC Comm. No. 222/1987, supra note 70, at 130.

275 Velasquez Rodríguez, supra note 161, para. 66.

276 Id., para. 67.

277 Compare Seminar on Implementation, supra note 267, para. 4(a), which provides:

The African Charter should be interpreted in the light of the impressive body of jurisprudence which has developed on similar provisions in other universal and regional instruments on human rights and related matters. Such instruments could be of practical relevance and value to judges and counsel and should as often as possible be referred to.

278 Webster’s, supra note 174, at 1421.

279 Longman, supra note 175, at 1183.

280 Zwart, supra note 215, at 198.

281 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 32. The European institutions have stressed that only direct means of redress are considered sufficient. Thus, if an applicant complains that his case has not been heard within a reasonable time, he need only make use of those remedies that can redress his grievances by providing him with direct and speedy protection of the rights guaranteed in the convention or charter. See, e.g., Deweer v. Belgium, supra note 159, paras, 26-27; see also De Jong case, supra note 219, at 20; Pine Valley Dev. Ltd. v. Ireland, 222 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) at 22 (1991); cf. Opinion OC-11/90, supra note 162, para. 36.

282 Jawara v. The Gambia, supra note 173, para. 35.

283 See, e.g., CRP v. Nigeria, supra note 171.

284 Id., para. 5.

285 See, e.g., Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, ch. 398, §11(4), Laws of Federation of Nigeria (1990) (providing that” [n]o appeal shall lie from a decision of a tribunal constituted under this Act or from any confirmation nor dismissal of such decision by the Governor”). As noted earlier, the Commission has interpreted such clauses to signify unavailability of remedies, although the facts also reveal an inadequate or insufficient remedy. This interpretation underscores, once again, the link between the criteria.

286 CRP v. Nigeria, supra note 171, para. 9.

287 Id., para. 11.

288 Id., para. 10; see also Constitutional Rights Project (in respect of Zamani Lekwot and 6 Others) v. Nigeria, Comm. No. 87/93, para. 6, 1994-1995 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex VI; cf. Lawless v. Ireland, App. No. 332/57, 2 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on H.R. 318 (Eur. Comm’n on H.R.) (holding, in an application for compensation and damages for unlawful imprisonment after the applicant’s release, that the right of recourse to an internment commission, which did not have the power to grant such compensation and damages but could only recommend release, was not adequate remedy with respect to the applicant’s claim). In the same vein, the Court, in Temple v. United Kingdom, 8 Eur. H.R. Rep. 252 (1986), did not find it necessary for the applicant to file for compensation under the Employment Act of 1982 for having been dismissed from his job on the railroad. The statutory requirement of an application to the secretary of state virtually left the decision to the secretary’s discretion and was tantamount to a request for an ex gratia award. Compliance with the statutory process could therefore not confer valid entitlement to compensation. Leach, supra note 149, at 79.

289 Saro-Wiwa case, supra note 102, para. 77.

290 Id., para. 116.

291 Under Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunals), Decree No. 2, 1987.

292 The three members of the tribunal, for example, were appointed directly by Gen. Sani Abacha, although counsel for the state had argued that the cases fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Rivers State High Court, since the alleged offenses took place in that territory. Saro-Wiwa case, supra note 102, para. 5.

293 Id., para. 6.

294 Id., para. 8.

295 Id., para. 10.

296 Id., paras. 114-15.

297 See Cançado Trindade, A. A., Denial of justice and its Relationship to Exhaustion of Local Remedies in International Law, 53 Philippine L. J. 404 (1978)Google Scholar.

298 Denning, A. T., The Discipline Of Law at v (1979)Google Scholar.

299 Comm. No. 6/1990, Parot v. Spain, paras. 4.1-5.2, UN Doc. CAT/C/14/D/6/1990 (1995), available at Web site, supra note 70.

300 Ingelse, Chris, The Un Committee Against Torture 187 (2001)Google Scholar.

301 See Byrnes, Andrew, An Effective Complaints Procedure in the Context of International Human Rights Law, in The Un Human Rights Treaty System in the 21st Century 139, 146 (Bayefsky, Anne F. ed., 2000)Google Scholar.

302 Graefrath, Bernhard, Reporting and Complaint Systems in Universal Human Rights Treaties, in Human Rights in a Changing East-West Perspective 290, 327 (Rosas, Allan & Helgesen, Jan eds., 1990)Google Scholar.

303 Afr. Comm’n, Non-Compliance of States Parties to Adopted Recommendations of the African Commission: A Legal Approach, 24th Ord. Sess., OAU DOC/OS/50b (XXIV), para. 6 (1998), reprinted in Afr. Comm’n Documents, supra note 75, at 758, 759 [hereinafter Noncompliance].

304 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 58(2).

305 Malawi Afr. Ass’n v. Mauritania, supra note 71, para. 83.

306 African Charter, supra note 3, Art. 59(1); cf. 1st Protocol, supra note 61, Art. 5(3), (4). However, as the African Commission itself acknowledges, “the United Nations and most particularly the General Assembly has evolved in its perception of Human Rights issues.” Noncompliance, supra note 303, para. 7, at 758. It has consequently been suggested that the Commission should incorporate all cases of human rights violations that it finds into the agendas of the Committee of Ambassadors and other plenipotentiaries accredited to the OAU/AU and the Council of Ministers. The purpose would be to “ ‘heckle’ states accused of human rights violations and therefore to get rid of the process of confidentiality which has shown its limits and insufficiencies.” Id., para.. 10, at 759-60. Rule 108 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, supra note 94, also stipulates that “[t] he Commission may issue, through the Secretary and for the attention of the media and the public, releases on the activities of the Commission in its private session.” This measure could additionally help “to get rid of the straightjacket of confidentiality which... does not allow any progress since the state can at any time turn a blind eye.” Noncompliance, supra, para. 11. But these proposals have not been scrupulously implemented.

307 Barney Pityana, Preface to Murray, supra note 10, at vi.

308 OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Decision on the 15th Annual Activity Report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 38th Ord. Sess., Doc. AHG/Dec. 171 (XXXVIII), para. 2 (2002).

309 1 Weeramantry, C. G., Justice Without Frontiers: Furthering Human Rights 92 (1997)Google Scholar.

310 Velásquez Rodríguez case, supra note 161, para. 93.

311 See Cançado Trindade, supra note 16, at 3.

312 Effect of Reservations on the Entry into Force of the American Convention on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC–2/82, 2 Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) para. 29 (1982).

313 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, supra note 76.

314 Buergenthal, supra note 167, at 130.

315 Meeting of Experts for the Preparation of the Draft African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3/Rev., at 1 (1979).

316 Noncompliance, supra note 303, para. 2, at 758.

317 See Afr. Comm’n, Draft Resolution on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, pmbl., annexed to Noncompliance, supra note 303, reprinted in Afr. Comm’n Documents, supra note 75, at 760.

318 Id.

319 Noncompliance, supra note 303, para. 13, at 760.

320 See Byrnes, supra note 301, at 143.

321 Rules, supra note 94, Rule 113.

322 For example, Communication No. 133/94, Association pour la Defence des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés v. Djibouti, was received by the secretariat of the Commission on April 19,1994. The Commission decided on admissibility more than three years later, in November 1997. Comm. No. 133/94, paras. 3, 7, 1999-2000 Afr. Ann. Act. Rep., Annex V. Similarly, the Commission received Communication No. 205/97, Aminu v. Nigeria, on August 18, 1997, and decided on admissibility more than two years later, in November 1999. Comm. No. 205/97, paras. 8,10, id. Even worse, the Commission received Communication No. 25/89, Free Legal Assistance Group v. Zaire, in June 1989. It decided on admissibility about six years later, in March 1995! Comm. No. 25/89, supra note 70, paras. 7, 13. Communication No. 44/90, Peoples’ Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism v. The Gambia, was received in 1990, and it took the Commission until 1995 to verify that local remedies had been exhausted. Comm. No. 44/90, 1996-1997 Ann. Act. Rep., Annex X.

323 See Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights v. Tanzania, supra note 113, where the Commission “held that the rejection of applications for bail and the delay in the appeal procedures for more than two years rendered the remedy unduly prolonged.” Odinkalu & Christensen, supra note 102, at 263. The complainant was subsequently granted bail. Though the Commission held that “[s]uch acts do not necessarily remedy the prejudice suffered, nor cure a violation of the rights of an individual,” id. (quoting Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights, supra, para. 10), it nevertheless went against the logic of its own statement and declared that it could not conclude that local remedies were nonexistent or unduly prolonged, id.

324 During an internship with the Commission in The Gambia in October–November 2001.

325 In conformity with Article 45 (1) (b) and (3) of the African Charter, supra note 3. Pityana, supra note 307, at vi.

326 As of September 12,2002, only six of the necessary fifteen states parties had ratified the Protocol on the establishment of the court, supra note 1: Burkina Faso (Dec. 31,1998); Mali (May 10, 2000); Senegal (Sept. 29,1998); South Africa (July 3,2002); The Gambia (June 30,1999); and Uganda (Feb. 16,2001). AU Doc. CAB/LEG/ 66.5 (2002).

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