Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said Zimbabwe has not ratified the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) protocol because it is unhappy with citizens getting direct access to a court outside the country.
Speaking to journalist after a meeting with an AfCHPR delegation currently in Harare, Ziyambi said that this issue was why only 30 out of 55 African states had ratified the protocol. Said Ziyambi:
There were certain issues within the charter that the majority of African countries were unhappy with, and only 30 out of 55 countries have ratified and nine have signed declarations.
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One of the issues was that of direct access by citizens to the court and that is one of the contentious issues and states felt that the local remedies must always be exhausted before you approach the court.
I believe that is now being attended to, and once that is dealt with, the majority of African countries will ratify.
The AfCHPR had come into the country to remind Zimbabwe’s leadership to consider ratifying the protocol. The delegation met President Mnangagwa. Ziyambi Ziyambi said Zimbabwe is now considering ratifying the protocol but didn’t give a timeline.
The AfCHPR is a human rights court protocol for the African Union member states which was adopted in June 1998.