Rule of law

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Governance
Rule of law
Peace
Coup d'état

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 70th Ordinary Session held virtually from 23 February to 9 March 2022;

Recalling its mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa, pursuant to Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

Considering Article 3(f) and (h) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union(the Constitutive Act), which states that the objectives of the African Union (AU) are to promote peace, security and stability on the continent, as well as human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter and other relevant human rights instruments;

Considering Article 4(m) and (p) of the Constitutive Act which sets out as fundamental principles, respect for democratic rules, human rights, the rule of law and good governance; and the condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government;

Considering also Article 30 of the Constitutive Act which provides that governments which come to power through unconstitutional means shall not be allowed to participate in the activities of the Union;

Recalling Article 1 of the African Charter which calls on Member States to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to the rights and freedoms enshrined therein;

Emphasising the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (the African Charter on Democracy), in particular, Articles 2, 3, 5, 23, 24, 25 and 26;

Noting Articles 1 ,2 , 3, 6, 7, 9 and 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security;

Noting also Aspirations 4 and 6 of Agenda 2063 which aims for a peaceful and secure Africa as well as an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children ;

Recalling the relevant provisions of the Algiers Declaration AHG/Dec. 142 (XXXV) of July 1999 on Unconstitutional Changes of Government, the Lomé Declaration AHG/Decl.5 (XXXVI) of July 2000 on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government, and the 2003 Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union;

Recalling also the principles stipulated in its Resolution ACHPR/Res.213 (LI) 2012 on Unconstitutional Changes of Government of 2 May 2012, which condemns attempts at instituting autocratic regimes and unconstitutional changes of government on the continent, acts which it considers to be a serious threat to stability, peace, security and development;

Concerned seriously about the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa through military takeovers, the extension of mandates through the adoption of amendments to Constitutions, the failure of incumbents to relinquish power after losing free and fair elections; a situation which has a negative impact on stability, sustainable democracy and the socio-economic development of the continent;

Deploring the recent military takeovers in Mali, Guinea-Conakry, Burkina Faso, The Sudan and the attempted coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau, some of which resulted in the loss of lives, in violation of democratic principles and rule of law;

Echoing the strong condemnation of these unconstitutional acts by the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (ReMs) and the International Community;

Conscious of the need to remind African States of their obligations under international law to respect democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance, and to promote peace, security, stability and development in Africa;

Recalling that the seizure of power by force by any civilian or military group is contrary to the provisions of Articles 13 (1) and 20 (1) of the African Charter;

The Commission:

1. Reiterates its condemnation of the recent military takeovers and other forms of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa;

2. Calls on the AU, RECs, ReMs and the International Community to pursue constructive dialogue with the countries concerned, with a view to ensuring a rapid return to constitutional order;

3. Urges the AU Peace and Security Council to play a central role, working with the RECs, ReMs and the States concerned to ensure a swift resolution of the crises as mandated by its Constitutive Act;

4. Urges the AU Peace and Security Council and AU Member States to implement the relevant provisions and principles enshrined in the African Charter on Democracy and the Lome Declaration which inter alia prohibits the extension of mandates through the adoption of amendments to Constitutions, and the failure of incumbents to relinquish power after losing free and fair elections;

5. Calls on the AU, RECs and ReMs to adopt measures that would effectively address the root causes and triggers leading to unconstitutional changes of government in Africa, with a view to building a culture of respect for human rights, rule of law and ensuring coherent implementation of democratic governance in Africa, in accordance with the relevant treaties, instruments and mechanisms as envisaged in Agenda 2063;

6. Calls on the AU to strengthen the capacity of the AU Peace and Security Council to address the scourge of conflicts including unconstitutional changes of government; enhance its early warning systems, as well as undertake regular and effective conflict prevention measures in collaboration with RECs and ReMs;

7. Urges all African States to respect and comply with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance, the Constitutive Act of the AU and other relevant regional and international instruments;

8. Calls on Member States of the AU that have not yet done so to ratify, domesticate and implement the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance;

9. Encourages States to put the era of unconstitutional changes of government behind them in order to ensure progress and development, and foster a climate in which human rights values can flourish;

10. Calls on National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to intensify their advocacy and other activities at the national, regional and continental levels, with a view to promoting a culture of respect for human rights and rule of law as well as ensuring coherent implementation of democratic governance in Africa and the accountability of duty bearers.

                Done on 9 March 2022

Author
admin
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Democracy
Participate in government
Rule of law
Express and disseminate opinion
Movement and residence
Assembly
Property
Protests and demonstrations

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission), meeting at its 62nd Ordinary Session held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter);

Bearing in mind the obligations of the Togolese Republic as a Member State of the African Union and a State Party to the African Charter, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and other regional human rights instruments;

Considering Principles (m) and (n) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union on respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance, and promotion of social justice to ensure balanced economic development;

Considering the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, in particular Articles 3(1), 13 and 32(8) on respect for human rights and democratic principles, the obligation of States Parties to take measures to ensure and maintain political and social dialogue, as well as public trust and transparency between political leaders and the people, in order to consolidate democracy and peace, and entrenching and respecting the principle of the rule of law;

Recalling further Articles 4, 6, 9, 11, 13 and 23 of the African Charter which guarantee the right to life and physical integrity, to liberty and security of the person, the right to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, to participate in the management of public affairs, as well as the right to peace and security;

Deeply concerned about the situation prevailing in Togo since 19 August 2017 following the various demonstrations calling for constitutional and institutional reforms,  including the vote of the Togolese Diaspora as well as the limitation of presidential terms, marked by violations of freedom of expression, opinion and demonstration, endangering lives, the integrity of the human person, private and public property, freedom of movement, the disproportionate use of force against demonstrators and other forms of violence that led to the massive internal displacements of populations;

Taking note of the meeting of 19 February 2018 between the government and the various parties that organized the demonstrations aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis; 

Welcoming the designation by ECOWAS Heads of State at their extraordinary meeting held in Lomé, Togo, on 14 April 2018 of the Ghanaian and Guinean Presidents, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and H.E. Professor Alpha Condé, as facilitators in the Togolese crisis; 

Cognizant of the importance of the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the consolidation of peace on the continent;

Emphasising the primary responsibility of the State to guarantee the respect and effective protection of rights, in accordance with the African Charter and other relevant human rights instruments ratified by Togo;

Stressing also the responsibility of leaders of opposition political parties to ensure that their party members abide by the law and refrain from taking any action that may undermine public order and national security;    

The Commission:

1. Strongly condemns all human rights violations that have been committed and urges the Togolese Government to put an end to them, in particular arrest, torture, arbitrary detention and other violations;

2. Calls for impartial and independent investigations in order to identify the presumed perpetrators of these violations and ensure that they are prosecuted in accordance with the law; 

3. Urges the Togolese authorities to continue dialogue with all stakeholders towards the preservation of peace and security in Togo;

4. Urges opposition political parties to prioritise dialogue and refrain from acts of violence; 

5. Calls upon the various parties to prioritise national harmony and unity, and to refrain from any action that may undermine the main pillars of the Togolese society;

6. Decides to undertake a general human rights promotion mission to Togo, in collaboration with the government authorities.

 

Adopted at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018