Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


U. O. Umozurike


This paper examines some of the problems of the African Commission, and its shortcomings, all of which gave room for the criticism and, more importantly, suggestions for the greater effectiveness of the Commission. The moderate achievements of the Commission are complicated by what appears to be some doubt about its desirability. The European Commission has been abolished and its functions merged with those of the European Court after it had functioned only long enough to develop human rights standards in Europe. The African Commission has existed for twenty years with inadequate resources and personnel. It is not even mentioned in the Constitutional Act of the AU as one of its organs, displaying some doubt about its retention. The Constitutive Act of the African Union 1961 provides for the Court of Justice of the African Union, but this is entirely different from the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, which was created under a separate treaty. We shall show that the there is a role for the African Commission and that the focus of development in that area for the next decade should be strengthening the Commission in keeping with the advice thoughtfully given by the Senegalese President to "keep constantly in mind our value of civilization and the real needs of Africa."