The African Union has approved a plan to merge the African Human and Peoples' Rights Court with that of the African Court of Justice, reports Hirondelle Agency. 'The meeting of Heads of State in Egypt endorsed the plan which will enable Arusha-based African Court effectively execute its work as a single continental judicial organ',' said Justice Gerard Niyungeko, President of the African Court. Justice Niyungeko said that there was need to allow NGOs and individuals to file cases before the Court, an issue that was not agreed upon at the Summit.
Only 24 member states out of 53 African Union (AU) have ratified the Protocol. The Court was established by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Protocol adopted by members states in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in June 1998. The Protocol entered into force in January 2004. The Court started its operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2006 but moved to its permanent seat in Arusha in August, last year.