African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights
Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce (eds.), International Law's Objects, Oxford University Press, 2018
16 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018
This chapter examines international courts’ premises as objects of international law through the case of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. When creating an international court, states become legally obligated to supply its physical premises—a functional and symbolic resource that underpins the court’s legal authority and influence. Drawing on archival evidence, this chapter analyses the African Court’s significant challenges in securing this important resource from political actors within the African Union and Tanzania, the court’s host state. This analysis shows that there can be a considerable gap between states’ commitment and compliance, and between legal ambition and political reality. This gap, however, can mobilize court officials to assert their needs for adequate resources and, more generally, the significance of their mandate. Examining international courts’ premises can, therefore, elucidate the tensions between law and politics embedded in international justice specifically and international law more broadly.
Keywords: African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights; African Union; Africa; Tanzania; international law; international courts; human rights; compliance
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