This article examines the progress and difficulties experienced in litigating human rights in Zimbabwe, from independence in 1980 to the present day. The article begins by discussing the constitutional basis for human rights litigation and explains the various avenues to pursue issues relating to the Declaration of Rights in the Supreme Court. The article identifies certain time frames that influenced the development of human rights litigation in Zimbabwe and briefly outlines various cases that set precedents for future litigation. During the first five years after Zimbabwe had gained independence, the ability of the Supreme Court to hear litigation on human rights issues was severely limited due to a constitutional provision that determined that existing laws could not be challenged under the Declaration of Rights. Thereafter followed what has been described as the 'golden era of human rights litigation', from 1985—2001. Decisions were taken in almost every field of human rghts specified in the Declaration of Rights and the vast majority of these decisions favoured the citizen. Post-2001 human rights litigation, however, has by March 2003 yielded only two Supreme Court decisions where the citizens' rights prevailed. The problems currently experienced by the judiciary in Zimbabwe are identified and it is argued that the future of the judiciary is intertwined with the future of the government of Zimbabwe.
This article discusses the future Pan-African Parliament, one of the organs of the AU provided for under its Constitutive Act. The OAU adopted the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament in March 2001. Its purpose is to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent. So far only 15 states have ratified the Protocol; 24 out of 47 AEC member states must ratify the Protocol before it can enter into force. The Parliament, consisting of members elected or designated by national parliaments, will have an advisory function in the 'first stage'. It will later also have legislative power, which will be needed if the Parliament is to provide a credible democratic foundation for the AU.
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the protection of rights under the African Charter
This article analyses the causes, nature and settlement of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a conflict that has left four million people dead. The problems of implementing the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement of 1999 are discussed. This is followed by a discussion of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue that led to the adoption of the Global Agreement and the Interim Constitution in April 2003. Though the Interim Constitution recognises a wide range of human rights, no provision for the enforcement of these rights exists. A complex power-sharing system has been set up to integrate the various former rebel groups into the interim government. An effective state is essential for the protection of human and peoples' rights. Lasting peace will not be possible without a state built on democracy, constitutionalism and human rights.
This article examines the implementation of international humanitarian law in Nigerian law. It is clear from Nigerian jurisprudence that a treaty remains unenforceable under domestic law unless it has been enacted into law by parliament. The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 have been incorporated into Nigerian legislation. This is, however, not the case with the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, which were adopted in 1977 and ratified by Nigeria in 1988. This poses a problem, especially with regard to the protection of international humanitarian law in an internal armed conflict.
This article examines the Kenya Police Force and how the current 'constitutional moment' may be seized for much needed reform. The police have been at the nexus of the most serious problems facing Kenyan society: corruption, crime, inter-ethnic violence and vigilantism. Institutional arrangements are needed to ensure police accountability. Accountability has the following components: popular accountability, legal accountability and transparency. It is essential that the police be insulated from extralegal or illegal political interference and that internal and external supervisory and complaints mechanisms holding members of the police accountable, exist. The article discusses police accountability in Kenya. Brief comparative sketches of Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Northern Ireland are given. These countries have taken steps to broaden the range of actors and institutions to which the police are accountable and to have the executive share the power of appointing and removing senior officers of the police. The article ends with six recommendations on how to enshrine popular accountability, legal accountability and transparency as the central values in Kenyan law enforcement.
This note discusses the action against the Egyptian Professor Saad Eddin Mohammed Ibrahim who was arrested in 2000 and charged, together with others, with bribery, receiving illegal funds and spreading false rumours. The defendants were tried before the Supreme State Security Court. Professor Ibrahim was sentenced to seven years in prison. On appeal, the Court of Cassation returned the case to the Supreme State Security Court for retrial. Professor Ibrahim and his co-defendants were again found guilty. In March 2003, they were finally acquitted after the Court of Cassation had retried the case on appeal.
Report of the second ordinary session of The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child was established in July 2001 to monitor the implementation of the African Children's Charter which entered into force in 1999. The report examines the work of the Committee with the focus on its 2nd session held in February 2003. Rules of Procedure and Guidelines on State Reporting were adopted at the session. The Committee's relations to the African Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and other actors dealing with children's rights are discussed. Lack of resources is a serious problem and a permanent Secretary to the Committee has not yet been recruited. Three of the 11 members of the Committee had resigned and two of the posts remained vacant, impairing the work of the Committee.