The African Commission and the Rewriting of the African Charter
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Right from its formative stages the African Commission indicated that it would act as most organizations do; it would expand its turf.1 By unshackling itself from the strictures of the African Charter, it has created a setting in which it has been free to construe the Charter on lines it deems appropriate. This line of action is consistent with the public choice thesis that bureaucracies habitually expand and defend their turf. The Commission’s early initiatives signaled its intentions to play a more active role in the development of the African Charter when it sought and gained authority from the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AHSG) to receive and examine Article 62 state reports, and issue concluding observations. The Commission found it difficult to see which other organ of the OAU could accomplish this task and it thus concluded that it was the ideal organ to act in this capacity. The Commission’s concerns and request stemmed from the fact that the African Charter made no mention of the body or person to receive Article 62 reports. This gap led to questions as to whether reports should be submitted to a body of independent experts, or representatives of the state parties, possibly the AHSG or the OAU Council of Ministers.
KeywordsTransformational Model State Parti State Party African Charter International Relation Theory
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- 4.The leading texts spanning the Commission’s activities since it was constituted include Rachel Murray, The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and International Law (2000) Hart Publishing: OxfordGoogle Scholar
- 7.For an introduction to formalist jurisprudence, see Neil Duxbury, Patterns of American Jurisprudence (1995) Oxford University Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
- 50.For a general introduction to rational ignorance, see Viktor J. Vanberg and James M. Buchanan, “Constitutional Choice, Rational Ignorance and the Limits of Reason”, in Karol Edward Soltan and Stephen L. Elkin (eds.) The Constitution of Good Societies (1996.) Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park, pp.39–56.Google Scholar
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