Zimbabwe is closer to ratifying the African charter which establishes the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The confirmation was made when the Court’s President, Judge Sylvain Ore met President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare this morning.

Judge Ore and six other senior members of the African court are in Zimbabwe to explain to stakeholders the mandate of the court and how it operates.

Speaking after the meeting, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said Zimbabwe has decided to move along with other African nations that have ratified the charter.

“It is a process, we are considering it and hopefully in the not so distant future we would have ratified the protocol. The President has made it clear that we should move along with other African states in ratifying this charter,” said Cde Ziyambi.

The Minister also explained why it has taken Zimbabwe many years to ratify the charter, which was adopted in 1998.

“There were a number of issues in the charter that African countries were unhappy with, hence only 30 out of 55 countries have ratified it…….one of the issues was that of direct access by citizens to the court. States felt that local remedies should always be exhausted before one approaches the court and once that is attended to, then the majority of the African countries will ratify,” he said. African Court on Human and People’s Rights

Judge Ore expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa for his commitment towards ratifying the charter.

“We had fruitful discussions and what is left is for Zimbabwe to ratify the charter and this is a sovereign decision……so we have come to remind the President [about the charter]….we know he has the interest in human rights issues………and we expect that it could done soon……There are 30 out 55 countries that have ratified, so this initiative is very important and we can see that as soon as we visit the countries, some are just reminded that they should ratify,” he said.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent just like the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.