The achievements made at the continental level since 21 October 1986 when the African Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Rights (African Charter) came into force have been modest yet significant. Following its adoption, the African Charter was hailed as a very ambitious document. This is because of its uniquely African features: emphasis on morality, anti-colonial stance, absence of derogations justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, recognition of peoples‟ rights as well as the imposition of duties on states and individuals. As a result of these distinctive characteristics, many scholars have criticised the normative framework of the Charter. Sindjoun is of the view that the Charter is „window-dressing for the purpose of acceding to international civilization.‟ Ouguergouz described the rights guaranteed in the Charter as „imprecise‟ and that „the pertinent clauses of the African Charter offer only weak legal protection to the individual.‟ Early writings on the Charter also raised doubts about the likelihood of its implementation. Good or bad as the normative standards of the Charter may be, Heyns and Viljoen are of the view that „the conceptual battle is over.‟ The relevant battle now is for implementation. Thus recent discourses on the Charter have shifted from celebrating or further criticising the Charter‟s distinctive normative framework to evaluating its implementation mechanism. A system of human rights is only as good as its enforcement mechanism.
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa))--University of Pretoria, 2011.