The book is a robust piece of work that covers assessment of different subject matters in the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the African Court of Human and People’s Rights, the defunct Southern African Development Community Tribunal, and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (the ECCJ). However, this review will centre on the chapters which focus on the ECCJ. This is not in any way a dismissal of chapters dedicated to other courts, it is simply in a bid to streamline this review and also a reflection of the specific research interest of the writer i.e. the quality of the ECCJ.
This essay reviews the chapter co-authored by James Gathii and Jacquelene Wangui Mwangi, The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights as an Opportunity Structure. Like the other chapters of the book, Gathii and Wangui’s chapter reiterates the main theme of the book while focusing on the African Court of Human and People’s rights (the African Court), which is the only dedicated human rights court in the region.
The Performance of Africa’s International Courts published under the International Court and Tribunals Series of Oxford University Press, should quickly become a canonical text for all scholars of international adjudication, and especially those of them concerned with its nature, uses and impact in Africa. The book’s editor (Prof. Gathii) and contributors make a significant contribution to “a second wave” of scholarship on Africa’s International courts. Previous scholarship on these courts had tended to focus on their potential to advance legal integration across the continent and offer human rights protection, and their evolution from full-time regional economic integration institutions to part-time human rights protection bodies.
The fact that Africa hosts the largest number of international courts and tribunals in the world warrants a closer review of their effectiveness. Previous scholarship has assessed these courts’ and tribunals’ effectiveness through the prism of compliance with their decisions. There has been little analysis of the wider impact that the courts and tribunals have on litigants, on the social, political and economic progress in the State concerned and on the values that the states that establish these courts seek to uphold and protect. This volume by African researchers with a record of writing on these courts and tribunals espouses a more nuanced Afro-centric approach which will serve as a further stimulus to analysing this important topic.
Over the past few decades, the term ‘resource curse’ has entered the policy domain and has been used to describe how countries in Africa, and the Global South more generally, which are endowed with natural wealth, are unable to develop and cannot avoid declining into violent conflict. In the collective imaginary, wars in different African countries, such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Liberia have been associated with brutal conflict waged by rebels driven by the lust for 'blood diamonds.'
There are two basic problems that may resonate with those who are engaged in teaching and researching international law in developing countries: first, motivating students, and second, seamlessly accessing the requisite resources for teaching and research. This essay presents and outlines challenges and proposes some solutions to address them. This is not to say that these are the only constraints they face, rather this choice is driven by the length of this essay.
So far, we have found that an uncritical Western perspective is favored in the teaching of international law in the region. In many cases, international law is generally presented as a single and objective law that must be applied uniformly in any part of the world and, therefore, leaving no place for regional contextualization or for questioning its premises. Likewise, it is widely preferred to teach it using a bibliography originated in the Global North, despite the substantive contributions of Latin American scholars in International Law and in the Humanities and Social Sciences. These contributions have been made invisible by the colonial past and globalization processes based on asymmetrical power-knowledge relationships.
In contemporary Africa, the judicialization of presidential elections between incumbents and challengers in courts is becoming increasingly visible. In at least two instances within the last three years, courts have overturned presidential elections. In addition, an increasing number of non-gubernatorial electoral disputes are being judicialized in national and international courts. There are examples from Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria and Kenya.
The blog posts presented in this symposium indicate that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the renewable energy (RE) sector is desirable to support decarbonisation and clean energy transformation in developing countries such as Nigeria. Despite the enormous potential for RE based on the natural conditions in Nigeria, there is high level of energy poverty and low level of investments in RE sector by both government and private investors.
May 13, 2019