The 2020 Rules of Procedure (2020 RoPs) were adopted at the African Commission’s 27th Extra-Ordinary Session, held from 19 February to 04 March 2020, pursuant to Article 42(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and came into force on 02 June, 2020, in terms of Rule 145 thereof.
Amongst the changes introduced is in Rule 3 that provides clarity on the status and mandate of the Commission in order to give full effect to Article 45 of the African Charter. This rule reiterates the autonomous nature of the Commission and its various competencies to interpret the African Charter and its own decisions and to ensure the operation of its Secretariat
The introduction of Rule 3 in the 2020 RoPs is a progressive move to institutionalize deterrence of future attempts to undermine the mandate of the African Commission as was observed with Decision 1015.
Extract of Rule 3 of the 2020 RoPs:
Rule 3 Mandate and Status
1. In accordance with Articles 30 and 45 of the African Charter, the African Commission is an autonomous treaty organ with the mandate of promoting human and peoples’ rights and ensuring the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.
2. In accordance with AU Assembly/AU/Dec.200 (XI), the African Commission is an Organ of the African Union.
3. In pursuing its mission, the Commission shall be competent to interpret the African Charter, including in response to a request for an advisory opinion pursuant to Article 45(3) of the Charter.
4. The Commission shall be competent to interpret its own decisions.
5. The Commission shall lay down its Rules of Procedure pursuant to Article 42 (2) of the Charter.
6. The Commission shall have the competence to ensure the efficient and technical organization and operation of the Secretariat.
7. The Commission shall perform any other tasks which the Assembly may entrust to it pursuant to Article 45(4) of the Charter.
Link to the original press release: