Tanzanian Vice President: African Courts to compliment and not to subordinate national courts

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Dr. Philip I. Mpango, Vice President of Tanzania has stated that the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is expected to compliment and not to subordinate national courts on the agreed mandated jurisdictions.

“When African Union Member States, decide to ratify and subject themselves to the jurisdiction of regional courts like the African Court, they expect such courts to compliment and not to subordinate national courts on the agreed mandated jurisdictions.

“Like the United Republic of Tanzania has subjected herself to the East African Court of Justice established under the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community as well as the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights as founded under the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Dr. Mpango stated.

Speaking at the fifth African Judicial Dialogue which was on theme: “Building trust in African judiciaries,” the Tanzanian Vice President said, the Tanzania actively and passionately worked for the establishment of these courts cognisant of the fact that, Africa needs her own regional courts to provide African solutions to African problems and challenges.

He reaffirmed that Tanzania continued to maintain a good working relation with both courts who have their headquarters in Arusha-Tanzania.

“Allow me at this juncture to correct the wrong impression that is parlayed that the Tanzania has withdrawn from the African Court. That is not true at all.

“Tanzania instead, has withdrawn from the Declaration made under Article 34 (6) of the Protocol on the African Charter for the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which permits individuals and Non-Government Organisations from direct accessing the court.

“Tanzania remains party to the Protocol and is allied to the mandate and spirit of the Court. Access to the Court remains as stipulated under Article 5 (1) of the Protocol for the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” he stated.

Dr. Mpango noted that, “Tanzania’s decision to withdraw from the Declaration made under Article 34 (6) of the Protocol establishing the African Court was arrived at after thorough consultations and considerations within the entire Government system respecting the sovereignty of the state.

“It was not made out of political considerations or expediency. I am also aware that some other African Union Member State have withdrawn from the Declaration.

“I believe they also have their reasons for doing so. In this regard, I wish to suggest that, in order for the Court to regain the confidence of Member States, it should strive to create an African Human Rights jurisprudence applicable to all of Africa, addressing African peculiar challenges”.

The Tanzanian Vice President therefore urged the African Court to also set realistic standards in consideration of the capacity of African states.

“I strongly believe that, trust is the cornerstone in the dispensation of Justice. When justice is properly administered it guarantees the stability and security for any society,” he said.

Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud, African Court President noted that; “Without trust, no judicial institution can adequately accomplish its task and is therefore bound to be criticized by all sides. It is therefore imperative as much as possible to act in a manner that does not erode trust”.

She said, it was important to address the issue of independence and impartiality, corruption, effectiveness, and efficiency of the judiciary and the issue of a permanent dialogue between the judges, all of which were essential factors of trust in domestic or international courts.

Lady Justice Aboud said the general objectives of the fifth African Judicial Dialogue therefore was to enable African judiciaries to play their full role, in particular by building lasting trust not only between justice system actors but also between justice system actors and court users.

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