Rewriting Human Rights Decisions
Edited by Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet
Chapter 4: Use of comparative authority in the drafting of judgments of a new regional human rights court: African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Zongo v Burkina Faso
For a new regional human rights court it is particularly important to engage with comparative authority in its judgments. This chapter explores the merits judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Zongo v Burkina Faso. It illustrates how the Court in this case failed to engage with relevant comparative material from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. Reference to such material is important to strengthen the reasoning of the judgments of the Court and thereby enhancing their legitimacy. Fortunately the engagement with comparative material is much better in most of the other judgments so far delivered by the Court. The chapter explores how the Court’s use of comparative material in Zongo could have enhanced the reasoning in relation to the two merits issues of the judgment, namely due diligence in investigation of alleged extrajudicial executions and the chilling effect on the media arising from extrajudicial executions of journalists.
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