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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


MAKUNYA, Trésor Muhindo. Overcoming challenges to the adjudication of election-related disputes at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: Perspectives from the Ngandu case. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2022, vol.22, n.2, pp.379-402. ISSN 1996-2096.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is increasingly taking on the role of a regional electoral adjudication body in resolving election-related human rights violations. While this role is essential because of the contested nature of elections in Africa and the inability of many national election resolution mechanisms to sanction election irregularities, the African Commission must master the intricacies of election dispute resolution in member states for its recommendations to be based on sound legal principles. Its decision in the Ngandu case provides an opportunity to assess the nature of some of the challenges faced by the Commission when adjudicating election-related disputes and how to overcome these. In this decision, the African Commission found that the Democratic Republic of the Congo had violated the complainant's right to defence, to political participation and to work following the annulment of his election as a member of the National Assembly by the country's interim Constitutional Court (the Supreme Court of justice). The analysis of the case suggests that, despite the African Commission's ability to re-affirm the relevance of the right to political participation for the consolidation of democracy in Africa and protecting the right to a fair trial and to work, it must address three types of challenges in its role as election-adjudication body using the procedural mechanisms provided for in both the African Charter and the Rules of Procedure. These challenges are the knowledge of electoral justice systems operating in the DRC and Africa at large; the impossibility of restitution as a form of reparation; and the state's participation in proceedings and the implementation of recommendations.

Keywords : African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights; Ngandu case; election-related disputes; exhaustion of local remedies; restitution; electoral justice systems.

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