From 12-13 February, the ICJ, in collaboration with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Benin and the African Association of the Francophone Higher Jurisdictions, hosted regional judicial dialogue and training for effective implementation of human rights in francophone Africa in Cotonou.
The President of the Constitutional Court of Benin, Justice Joseph Duogbenou, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Justice Ouattara Gberi Be and the President of the High Court of Benin, Lady Justice Marie Cecile de Dravo Zinzindohoue were among the participants.
Judges and other jurists representing the Supreme Courts and Constitutional Courts of Benin, Burkina Faso Cameroon, DR Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo also participated.
President Patrice Talon, who was represented by the Minister of Justice and the Legislature, M. Maxime Ouenum, opening the ceremony, noted that ‘fundamental rights and freedoms are binding on legislative, executive and judicial authorities because of the Constitutional, Conventional and National protection they enjoy’. They therefore ‘create obligations on states and on those who act on behalf of states, they cannot be ignored, denied or discarded’.
President of the Supreme Court of Benin, M. Ousmane Batoko emphasized the need to strengthen the capacity of judges for a more effective application of international human rights law in domestic adjudication. According to Justice Batoko, ‘The judge is at the very heart of the day to day construction and perpetuation of international human rights law.
‘’The protection of human rights goes beyond international and national legislation, and requires active protection by judges in the court rooms across Africa‘‘ said Arnold Tsunga, ICJ’s Africa Regional Director. He expressed hope that the dialogue would help to ensure that African peoples enjoy their human rights in totality. “The architecture for the protection of human rights can only be effective when national judges are equipped to play the very vital role that they have as the first layer of protection available to victims of human rights violations,“ Tsunga added.
At the end of the two-day programme which included lectures and judicial conversations, participants adopted a communique in which they affirmed their continued commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa expressing a desire for such colloquia to be held more frequently in order to build the capacity of the judiciaries in West Africa.
Arnold Tsunga, ICJ Regional Director for Africa, t: +27 716405926 or +263 777 283 249: e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Solomon Ebobrah, Senior Legal Adviser (ARP), t: +234 803 492 7549, e: Solomon.email@example.comNewsWeb stories