The role of sub-regional courts in the African human rights system

17 Oct 2011

The development of sub-regional communities in Africa is not a new phenomenon, but the incorporation of human rights into their agenda is relatively new. In effect, REC courts have introduced a new layer of supra national protection of human rights in Africa. The development is welcomed because it is likely to advance the cause for the promotion and protection of human rights. However, considering that the primary focus of the RECs is economic development, their ability to effectively embrace the role of human rights protection is questionable. The development of this mandate for the sub-regional courts is necessitated by the emerging prominence of human rights in the business of RECs. But, its interpretation and implementation has extensive ramifications for the advancement of human rights in Africa; the harmonisation of human rights standard in the region and for the unity and effectiveness of the African human rights system.