Contentious Jurisdiction of the Court
Under Article 3 of the Protocol, the Court has jurisdiction to deal with all cases and disputes submitted to it regarding the interpretation and application of the Charter, the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the concerned States.
Advisory Jurisdiction of the Court
Under Article 4 of the Protocol, the Court may, at the request of a Member State of the African Union, any of the organs of the African Union, or any African organization recognized by the African Union, provide an opinion on any legal matter relating to the Charter or any other relevant human rights instruments, provided that the subject matter of the opinion is not related to a matter being examined by the Commission.
Extension of Jurisdiction of the Court to Deal with Criminal Matters
In February 2009, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union requested the AU Commission, in consultation with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to assess the implications of extending the jurisdiction of the Court to try international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to submit a report thereon to the Assembly in 2010.
To implement this decision of the Assembly, the African Union Commission engaged a consultant to undertake a study on the implications of extending the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (yet to become operational), including considering whether unconstitutional change or prolongation of government, could be considered a new crime.
The Draft Protocol with an extended mandate of the Court is currently under consideration by AU Policy Organs.