Tuesday 5 March 2024

Arab human rights court plan on track

MANAMA, June 20, 2015

Plan for a new pan-Arab court that will investigate human rights allegations in the region is on track, said a report.

The Bahrain-based Arab Court of Human Rights will probe allegations of torture, discrimination and other violations lodged by Arab citizens,  reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

It is envisaged as a counterpart to similar institutions across the world such as the European Court of Human Rights, African Court of Human and People's Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

'The latest development on the pan-Arab court is that the main statute governing its establishment were finalised,' said National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) president Dr Aziz Abul.

'Now we are waiting for at least seven countries in the Arab League to ratify this statute that will result in the coming years of setting up the court in Bahrain.'

However, he said no information was available on whether countries ratified or opposed the legislation.

The new court is expected to have between seven to 11 judges from different Arab states, with only one judge from a particular country.

The judges are expected to serve for no more than two terms and the court will have to issue verdicts within six months of a complaint being lodged.

'There will be a set of procedures for the appointment of the 11 judges from the 22 member states of the Arab League. The process is on track and is expected to take time. It cannot happen overnight. We are keen on following up this matter that will benefit the region,' he said.

The ambitious project which aims to fast-track cases in the region is scheduled to open in three years.

The court will investigate a wide range of complaints, including individual complaints that will have to be filed through national institutions, added Dr Abul.

It was initiated by His Majesty King Hamad to safeguard rights under an advanced judicial system and in March 2013, during the Arab Summit, officials approved Manama as the headquarters of the body.

The GDN earlier reported that the court will operate within the framework of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, a document ratified by a number of Arab countries including Bahrain.

During a conference organised by NIHR last year, more than 300 participants recommended that the rights court should provide assistance to witnesses and complainants.

They further suggested financial resources for the court's operations to be divided among the states of the Arab League, and urged Bahraini authorities to ease visa restrictions for witnesses and complainants.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Human rights | Arab Court |

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