Amicus curiae participation before regional human rights bodies in Africa

29 Jul 2014

A solid stream of cases have been submitted to the quasi-judicial and judicial treaty monitoring bodies making up the African regional human rights system, namely the African Commission, the African Children’s Rights Committee and the African Human Rights Court, and also to sub-regional courts in Africa. Allowing amicus curiae briefs to supplement the parties’ pleadings can enhance the soundness of the factual and legal findings of these bodies, especially given their institutional and practical constraints. Thus far, the use of amicus curiae interventions before the African regional human rights bodies has been negligible. In order to ensure greater participation by amici, this article suggests that the possibility of amicus intervention should be unequivocally provided for under each of the applicable legal regimes, that the grounds for accepting or rejecting interventions should be clearly articulated, and that access to information about pending cases should be provided routinely.