Tanzania: African Court Throws Out Case Against Tanzania Govt


JF-Expert Member
Nov 14, 2006
''THE African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), has ruled against Godfred Anthony and Ifunda Kisite who had filed a case against the United Republic of Tanzania.

The duo who are currently serving 30 years' prison sentence following their conviction for conspiracy to commit a felony and for armed robbery, had appealed to the Court, alleging that they were sentenced to a non-existent sentence that inflicted on them mental and physical suffering.

The applicants further claimed that the Respondent State failed to provide them with free legal assistance, thereby violating Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and their right to be treated equally. They also sought reparations to rectify the alleged violations.

Tanzania government raised an objection on grounds of admissibility of the case, stating that the Court is not empowered with unlimited jurisdiction to sit as a court of first instance or an appellate court to decide matters already finalized by the country's highest judicial organ. The Court, under its President, Justice Sylvain Ore, considered two objections raised by Tanzania. The first objection was related to the applicant's failure to exhaust local remedies before filing the application as required by Article 56(5), of the Charter and Rule 40(5) of the Rules of Court. The Respondent State also claimed that the application is inadmissible because the applicants took too long to bring their claim to the Court. The Court upheld the Respondent State's objection in this regard and reasoned that the applicants had not justified the filing of their application five years and four months after exhaustion of local remedies, as they had simply stated that they were 'indigents'.''

The Court further held that the applicants, having been represented in the domestic courts and having not taken other measures to redress their situation, distinguished their situation from that of other applicants whose applications had been found admissible despite being filed five years after exhaustion of local remedies. The applicants in the other matters demonstrated that they had taken some measures to redress their situations before filing their applications before this Court.

To that end, the Court held that the application had not been filed within a reasonable time, and thus failed to meet the requirement of Article 56(6), of the Charter and Rule 40(6), of the Rules.
Following the finding, the Court concluded that since the admissibility requirements under the Charter and the Rules are cumulative, an application that fails to meet one of the requirements fails the admissibility test.

The application was thereby declared inadmissible.

The Respondent State had also argued that the first applicant did not appeal against the decision of the High Court to the Court of Appeal, and further that the second applicant did not file for review of the Court of Appeal's dismissal of his appeal.

The Court on Thursday rejected the Respondent State's contention indicating that the second applicant filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal. The judges further decided that the second applicant did not need to file an application for review as it is an extra-ordinary remedy within the Respondent State's judicial system.''

Watu wakate rufaa kwenye mahakama za ndani kabla ya kukimbilia kwenye mahakama za nje. Hili ni fundisho.

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