Arusha, Tanzania
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PRESS RELEASE
JUDGMENT SUMMARY

EVODIUS RUTECHURA v. UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
APPLICATION NO. 004/2016
JUDGMENT ON MERITS
A DECISION OF THE AFRICAN COURT ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS

Date of Press Release: 26 February 2021
Arusha, 26 February 2021: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) delivered a
judgment in the case of Evodius Rutechura v. United Republic of Tanzania.

Evodius Rutechura (the Applicant) is a national of the United Republic of Tanzania (the Respondent State).
At the time of filing the Application, he was on death-row at Butimba Prison, having been convicted of
murder. The Applicant alleged that the Respondent State violated his rights under Articles 7(1) and 7(1)(c)
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) by dismissing his application for review
outside time; by failing to provide him with free legal representation of his choice and by failing to properly
assess the evidence relied upon to convict him. He sought reparations to redress these alleged violations.
The Court observed that, as per Article 3(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’
Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol), it had to,
preliminarily, determine whether it had jurisdiction to hear the Application. In respect of its jurisdiction, the
Court noted that the Respondent State raised an objection to its material jurisdiction.

The Respondent State argued that the Court was not vested with jurisdiction to deal with the Application
since the Applicant was inviting it to sit as an appellate court. The Court held that it is empowered to
determine whether the proceedings in the national courts are in conformity with human rights instruments
ratified by the State concerned and by doing so, it is not sitting as an appellate Court. It further held that,
since the Application alleged violations of rights provided for in the Charter to which the Respondent State
is a Party then it had material jurisdiction.

Although other aspects of its jurisdiction were not challenged by the Respondent State, the Court
nevertheless examined them. The Court held that it had personal jurisdiction since on 29 March 2010, the
Respondent State deposited the Declaration provided for under Article 34(6) of the Protocol and this
Declaration allowed individuals to file applications against it as per Article 5(3) of the Protocol. The Court
also noted that it had decided that the Respondent State’s withdrawal of its Declaration, on 21 November

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