Two courts with multinational reach were recently in the news. The African Court on Human and People’s Rights was recently praised at a meeting of the African Union (AU) as “the premier judicial continental body.” And the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), based in Trinidad, has announced that it will develop a five-year strategic plan “with stakeholder engagement being a top priority.”
Like many courts with cross-border reach, the African Court and the CCJ depend heavily on regional member countries to provide jurisdiction and legitimacy. For example, the CCJ is seventy years old, but only three countries in the region have agreed to grant it appellate jurisdiction. The African Court has been established for more than twenty years, but only 30 member states have joined, and only 25 cases have been finalized in the past decade. Much work remains to be done.