African law practitioners have been urged to work to ensure that proper mechanisms are put in place in their various countries for the enforcement of useful decisions of the African Continental Court.
Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, a former Chief Justice of Ghana, who made the call, said the decisions of the continental court should be seen as aligning to addressing some of the pressing issues the continent had been bedeviled with.
“In working towards the achievement of the Africa we want, the value of human entity must not be lost in sight which is the reason for which laws exist and ought to be utilized,” she stated.
Justice Akuffo was speaking at the opening of the 32nd Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Kumasi.
This year’s competition is being held on the theme: “The Africa we want: Sexual and Gender Minority rights in Africa, Climate Change and Corruption.”
The five-day event is being hosted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the defending champions of the competition.
The Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court competition, which was created in 1992, is Africa’s largest gathering of students, academics and judges around human rights in Africa.
The annual event brings together faculties of law across Africa whose students argue hypothetical human rights cases as though they were at the African courts of human and people’s rights.
For the 32nd edition of the competition, KNUST is hosting 61 universities drawn from 17 countries in Africa.
Justice Akuffo pointed out that “when there is unjustifiable exclusion, when environmental degradation to satisfy parochial gains exist, or there is corruption that cuts across the entire fabric of human existence, then the African we want will continue to be unattainable.”
She, therefore, urged the competing students to strive to set higher standards in their law studies so as to be able to tackle existing and emerging challenges confronting the African continent.
Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, Asante Mamponghene, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, reiterated that harmful practices such as illegal mining continued to haunt Ghana, and urged the participants of the programme to deliberate on practical ways to curb the menace.
He suggested that traditional leaders across Africa should be invited going forward to participate in the moot court conferences and contribute meaningfully to sensitive human rights issues, which posed challenges to societies.
Professor Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, said over the years, the KNUST Law Faculty had won several laurels in moot court competitions, including the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court.
She said it was important for communities of academics, faculties and students to come together and constantly unravel issues that were pertinent to human existence.