The Constitutional application case filed by the Tanganyika Law Society, Legal and Human Rights Center and Rev. Christopher Mtikila is set to be heard today at 10:00 am at African Court on Human and People's Rights in Arusha.
You may wish to follow it live online through the Court's website:
African Court on Human and People's Rights.
FUATILIA HAPA: http://www.livestream.com/afchpr[/video]
Public Hearing in Rev. Christopher Mtikila et al. vs Tanzania
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will hold a public hearing at its seat in Arusha (Tanzania), on 14 and 15 June 2012, in respect of Application 009 & 011/2011 - Tanganyika Law Society and The Legal and Human Rights Centre and Reverend Christopher Mtikila v. The United Republic of Tanzania, concerning alleged violation of Articles 2, 10 and 13 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter), Articles 3, 22, 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Articles 1, 7, 20 and 21 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.The Applicants, Tanganyika Law Society and The Legal and Human Rights Centre and Reverend Christopher Mtikila, allege that the United Republic of Tanzania (the Respondent) has violated, and is still violating the democratic principles and the political rights of its citizens by enacting the Eighth Constitutional Amendment of 1992 and the Eleventh Constitutional Amendment Act No 34 of 1994, which prohibit independent candidates from offering their candidature for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections, as a candidate is required to be a member of and be sponsored by a political party.
The Applicants are asking the Court to declare that the Respondent is in violation of Articles 2, 10 and 13 (1) of the Charter, Articles 3, 22, 25 and 26 of the ICCPR and to order that the Respondent effect constitutional, legislative and other measures to guarantee basic political rights and allow independent candidates to contest Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections.The Respondent disputes the allegations of the Applicants and asks the Court to declare the application inadmissible. The Respondent maintains that it has not violated the right to participate in Public/Government Affairs contrary to the Charter and the ICCPR, as these instruments are not directly applicable in Tanzania.
The Respondent further submits that the prohibition of independent candidates for election to Presidential, Parliamentary or Local Government is permissible based on the social needs of Tanzania.The Tanganyika Law Society and The Legal and Human Rights Centre and Reverend Christopher R. Mtikila instituted their cases on 2 June 2011 and 10 June 2011, respectively. Pursuant to Rule 35 (2) (a), the applications were served on the Respondent advising it of the registration of the applications and asking the Respondent to indicate the names of its representatives and respond to the applications pursuant to Rule 37. After noting that both Applicants’ cause of action arose from the same facts and that the Respondent is the same, the Court decided, on 22 September 2011, to issue an Order for Joinder of the two Applications. Thus, since then the matter is known and referred to as Applications 009&011/2011- Tanganyika Law Society and The Legal and Human Rights Centre and Reverend Christopher Mtikila v The United Republic of Tanzania.The Respondent communicated the names of its representatives on 27 July and 19 August 2011 respectively, and sent its response to the applications in August 2011. On 30 September 2011, the Applicants filed their reply to the Respondent’s submissions for application 011/2011.
On 28 October, 2011, the Registry received the reply to the Respondent’s submission, from the Applicant with respect to application 009/2011.At its 23rd Ordinary Session held from 5 to 16 December 2011, in Accra, Ghana, the Court decided that the pleadings were closed and that a public hearing on the matter will be held during its 24th Ordinary Session. The dates proposed for the public hearing were 26 to 27 March 2012.By letter dated 21 December 2011 the Registry informed the parties of the proposed dates for the public hearing and requested them to confirm their availability for the hearing, as well as the convenience of the dates proposed.
The Applicants confirmed their availability.By Note Verbale dated 19 January 2012, the Respondent advised the Court that the dates proposed for the hearing were not convenient and requested that the hearings be rescheduled to 11 and 12 April 2012 instead. By separate letters both dated 13 March 2012, the Registry informed all parties that the public hearing will take place during the 25th Ordinary Session of the Court scheduled for June 2012. At its 24th Ordinary Session held from 19-30 March, 2012, in Arusha, Tanzania, the Court decided that the public hearing will be held on 14 and 15 June, 2012.
All the parties have confirmed their availability for the hearing.The Applicants are represented by a team of lawyers from Benin, Nigeria and Tanzania, while the Respondent is represented by a team of lawyers from the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is the only continental judicial organ established by African Union to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. The Protocol establishing the Court was adopted in 1998 and the Court officially started its operations in 2006. It has its seat in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania.