Human Rights Litigation Before Sub-Regional Courts in East and West Africa

Oxford Handbook of Comparative Human Rights Law (Neha Jain & Mila Versteeg eds. 2024) (Forthcoming)

Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2023-35

34 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2023

See all articles by Jo Un Eom

Jo Un Eom

Duke University School of Law

Laurence R. Helfer

Duke University School of Law; University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts

Date Written: July 3, 2023

Abstract

This chapter reviews the human rights jurisprudence of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice (ECCJ). The chapter divides the case law of the two courts into three categories: (1) “strategic litigation” filed by NGOs, bar associations, or other interest groups that seek to have a systemic impact on improving human rights in the respondent country; (2) “individual justice” suits filed by individual victims seeking redress for violations of their rights with little consideration of the broader context; and (3) “high-politics” cases in which members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, as well as opposition politicians or parties, challenge to national elections or other important political decisions. In general, the EACJ and ECCJ have been sympathetic venues for human rights litigation by civil society organizations, individuals, and high-profile political actors. However, the courts have also experienced significant opposition from some member states. This resistance has taken the form of noncompliance and trenchant public criticisms from executive officials and national courts.

Keywords: ECOWAS, East African Community, ECOWAS Court of Justice, EACJ, human rights, African Charter, sub-regional integration

Suggested Citation

Un Eom, Jo and Helfer, Laurence R., Human Rights Litigation Before Sub-Regional Courts in East and West Africa (July 3, 2023). Oxford Handbook of Comparative Human Rights Law (Neha Jain & Mila Versteeg eds. 2024) (Forthcoming), Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2023-35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4498292

Jo Un Eom

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Laurence R. Helfer (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Dr.
Box 90360
Durham, NC 27708
United States
+1-919-613-8573 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.duke.edu/fac/helfer/

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law
Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen S, DK-2300
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/icourts/

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