On New “Judicial Animals”: The Curious Case of an African Court with Material Jurisdiction of a Global Scope

Rachovitsa, A., 15-Sep-2018, (Submitted) In : Human Rights Law Review.

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The paper aims to think anew about the jurisdiction ratione materiae of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘Court’). The Court, based in Arusha, enjoys a distinctive contentious jurisdiction which extends to the interpretation and application of any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned. The Court’s striking features set it apart from human rights bodies and most international courts. The Court’s jurisdiction has been received with scepticism and fear arguing that, if the Court extends its jurisdiction over treaties other than the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, this will lead to jurisprudential chaos and will undermine the formation of the African corpus juris. The article discusses the case law of the Court since 2013, when the Court started functioning, and it argues that these concerns are over-emphasised. The analysis underlines the shifting authority of specialised and/or regional courts; the need not to overstress but to appreciate positively instances of divergence; and the consideration of new conceptual and geographical topoi, in which international law is to be found and produced.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Publication statusSubmitted - 15-Sep-2018


  • judicial dispute settlement, international courts, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, jurisdiction ratione materiae, African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights

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ID: 65126867