AN APPRAISAL OF THE ROLE OF ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE AND THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT (SADC) TRIBUNAL IN THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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  ABSTRACT


The concept of Human Rights is a very fundamental subject in international law. Human Rights
aim at promoting and protecting humanity through the courts. The ECOWAS community court of
justice and the southern African Development community tribunal play a very important role in
the area of promoting and protecting Human rights in their respective regions. The aim of this
dissertation is to appraise the role of ECOWAS community court of justice and the southern
African Development community tribunal in the protection of Human Rights in Africa. The
objective of this dissertation therefore is to highlight some weaknesses in the promotion and
protection of Human Rights and to suggest some workable recommendations. One major finding
of this dissertation is the issue of enforcement of the court decisions. The decisions of the
ECOWAS community court of justice and the Southern African Development Community
Tribunal are usually not enforceable. They rely mainly on the commitment of member states.
This dissertation therefore recommends that the courts should engage in massive sensitization of
judicial authorities of member states on the issues of enforcement as justice without enforcement
is impotent. To achieve this, the doctrinal method of research will be adopted.

CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION


1.1 Background to the Study
Human Rights mean that human rights serve to protect and promote the dignity of human
beings worldwide
1. Human rights can be seen as a legal codification of the concept of human
dignity. Despite different regional perceptions and arguments relating to cultural relativism, the
concept of human rights and their universality is generally accepted, although these always have
to be seen in their specific contexts
2. Human rights, as a legal concept and codification of human
dignity, were late to arrive in Africa. Its evolution in Africa is to be seen against the background
of the dynamic development of human rights within the United Nations system and that of
international law, although the impetus of this evolution is owed to the struggles within African
states in the colonial and post-independence eras
3.
The role of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African
Union (AU), must also be acknowledged here. Since the OAU‟s inception in 1963, several
organizations‟ instruments and mechanisms have come to the fore, aiming at promoting and
protecting human rights in Africa. The adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples‟
Rights in 1981 is considered a milestone in this regard, as are the establishment of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples‟ Rights and the associated African Court of Human and
Peoples‟ Rights. In addition, regional economic communities have set up their own organizations
and instruments aiming at promoting human rights in their respective regions
4.
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