African court suspends ordinary session over coronavirus

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The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has cut-short proceedings of its 56th ordinary session over coronavirus fears.

The court had begun its session on March 2 at its Seat in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Session was due to end on March 27.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country had risen from six to 12 since last Friday, appealing for heightened observance of protective guidelines given by health authorities.

In a statement Monday, the President of the African Court, Justice Sylvain Oré, said that Friday’s suspension of the proceedings was absolutely necessary to prevent any risk of contracting COVID-19 by the Judges and the Staff.

‘’The Court has decided to act decisively in the interest of health and safety of all Judges, staff and residents of Arusha and beyond,’’ he said.

Among other emergency measures adopted, he said, was to decongest the court by ordering all non-essential staff to work from home and key departments with limited staff to carry out their duties on shift-basis until further notice.

The President of the Court has also urged the staff to take maximum precaution by ensuring that they adhere to all hygienic conditions, including use of sterilisers, frequently wash their hands and abstain from crowded places, among others.

The court is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.
The Court meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.

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