24th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
25th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
26th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
27th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
28th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
29th Session: Commissioner Rezag-Bara
30th Session: Chairperson Rezag-Bara
31st Session: Chairperson Rezag Bara
SUMMARY OF FACTS
1. Complainant is a Human Rights Law office in Sudan and is submitting the
communication on behalf of all University Students and Teachers in Sudan.
2. The complaint was sent by post and received at the Secretariat on 14
3. Complainant alleges that on 26 September the Minister of Education in
Sudan announced that all the universities in Sudan would be closed for one
4. It is alleged that the closure of universities is in order to assist the
military mobilisation for the civil war in Southern Sudan.
5. The Complainant has included with the complaint, a sworn affidavit by a
university lecturer in the Khartoum University to attest to these
6. Complainant notifies the Commission that though an administrative appeal
has been filed against the decision of the Minister of Education, he does
not believe this will yield any realistic success.
7. The Complainant urges the Commission to adopt provisional measures under
Rule 111 of its Rules of Procedure which will request the government of
Sudan to re-open the universities immediately and prevent further
interference with university teaching.
The Complainant alleges a violation of the following provisions of the
African Charter on Human and Peoplesí Rights:
Articles 6, 7(c) and 17(1)
8. At the 24th ordinary session held in Banjul, The Gambia from 22nd to 31st
October 1998, the Commission decided to be seized of the communication.
9. On 26 November 1990, the Secretariat informed the two parties of the
10. On 3 May 1999, during the 25th ordinary session of the Commission in
Bujumbura, Burundi, a representative of the government of Sudan submitted a
written response to the Commission concerning the communication.
11. At its 25th ordinary session held in Bujumbura, Burundi, the Commission
postponed consideration of the communication to the next session.
12. On 13 May 1999, the Secretariat of the Commission wrote letters to all
the parties notifying them of this decision.
13. On 21 September 1999, the Complainant notified the Secretariat of the
Commission of a new address for all correspondences relating to the
14. During the 26th ordinary session, the Commission received a written
response, together with a three paged document in Arabic, from Dr. Ahmed El
Mufti, Rapporteur of the Advisory Council for Human Rights, Ministry of
Justice, Sudan concerning the communication. The attached document is said
to be the decision of the Constitutional Division of the High Court.
15. The Commission considered the communication at its 26th ordinary session
held in Kigali, Rwanda and requested the Complainant to submit written
observations on the outcome of the administrative appeal filed against the
decision of the Minister of Education, and generally, on the administrative
appeal processes in the Republic of Sudan.
16. On 21 January 2000, the Secretariat of the Commission wrote to the
parties informing them of the decision of the Commission. It specifically
requested the government of Sudan to furnish it with the translation of the
decision of the Constitutional Division of the High Court in English or
17. On 23 February 2000, following an email from Dr. Curtis Doebbler of the
Complainant Firm requesting the Secretariat to furnish him on the progress
of all communications filed, the Secretariat forwarded to him through email
the letter of 21 January 2000. It also requested him to indicate a fax
number to enable it send observations received from the government of Sudan
for his response.
18. On 1 March 2000, the Secretariat received an email from Dr. Curtis
Doebbler indicating a fax number for the above documents to be sent. The
Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the same and intimated to him the
necessity of submitting the requested written responses on time.
19. On 8 March 2000, the observation of the government of Sudan was faxed to
the Complainant in the U. S. as requested.
20. The Complainant repeated its request for information on the progress of
all communications pending before the Commission on 9 and 16 March 2000.
21. At last, the Secretariat received an e-mail from Dr. Curtis Doebbler on
17 March 2000, acknowledging receipt of the e-mail indicating the facts of
all the pending communications filed by the Complainant, and also promising
to furnish it with their responses no later than 24 March 2000.
22. At the 27th ordinary session held in Algeria, the Commission heard oral
submissions from parties and decided to consolidate all the cases. It
requested to furnish it with written submissions on the issue of exhaustion
of local remedies.
23. On 30 June 2000, the above decisions were communicated to parties.
24. On 4 September 2000, Dr. Curtis Doebbler wrote from Cairo to the
Secretariat of the Commission requesting information on the decision taken
by the Commission at the 27th session in Algiers.
25. The Secretariat responded on 7 September 2000, informing him that same
had earlier been faxed to him and observing that there were at least three
e-mail addresses given by him to the Secretariat for communication purposes
and proposing that he should indicate the most suitable e-mail address for
future correspondence in order to avoid delays and missing mails. The mails
were dispatched to though all the e-mail addresses designa ted by him and
also through fax.
26. On 14 September 2000, Dr. Curtis Doebbler acknowledged receipt of the
mails but pleaded for an adjournment to enable him submit in advance a full
brief on the issue of exhaustion of local remedies and to arrange for his
27. On 13th March 2001, the Secretariat received the Complainantís
submission. At the 29th Ordinary Session, the Commission will hear evidence
on exhaustion of local remedies and will then decide on admissibility.
28. At the 29th Ordinary session held in Tripoli, the rapporteur introduced
the communications and reviewed the facts and the status of the case. The
Commission thereafter heard the parties to the case. Following detailed
discussions, the Commission noted that the Complainant had submitted a
detailed brief on the case. It was therefore recommended that consideration
of this communication be deferred to the 30th Session pending submission of
detailed replies by the Respondent State.
29. On 19th June 2001, the Secretariat of the African Commission informed
the parties of the above decision and requested the Respondent State to
forward its written submissions within two (2) months from the date of
notification of the decision.
30. On 14th August 2001, a reminder was sent to the Respondent State to
forward its submissions within the prescribed time to enable the Secretariat
proceed with the communication.
31. During the 30th Session, the rapporteurs introduced the communications
and reviewed the facts and the status of each case. The Commission
thereafter heard the oral submission of the Respondent State to the case.
Following detailed discussions, the Commission noted that the Respondent
State did not respond to the questions raised by the Complainant. The
Commission also heard oral submissions by Dr. Curtis Doebbler and
recommended that consideration of these communications be deferred to the
31st Session, pending detailed written submission by the Respondent State to
the submissions of the Complainant.
32. On 15th November 2002, the Secretariat of the African Commission
informed the parties on the decision of the Commission and requested
Respondent State to forward its written submissions within two (2) months
from the date of notification of this decision.
33. On 7th March 2002, a reminder was sent to the Respondent State to
forward its submissions within the prescribed time to enable the Secretariat
to proceed with the communication.
34. Article 56(5) of the African Charter provides:
"The communications stipulated in Article 55 received by the Commission
relating to human and peoplesí rights, must meet the following conditions in
order to be investigated:
(5) Be subsequent to exhausting all local remedies, if they exist, unless it
is obvious to the Commission that the procedure for such recourse is
35. Concerning the question of exhausting local avenues of recourse, the
Complainant informed the Commission that no effective recourse was available
and that, even if used, the Constitutional Court is not qualified due to the
state of emergency and the political limitations, which makes it impossible
to legitimately complain to the court.
36. He maintains that the grounds for a local remedy that could apply are
rendered ineffective by the fact that the legal system in Sudan is neither
free nor independent since the Sudanese courts have been controlled by the
executive since 1998 and that, given this situation, the executive could not
rule on proceedings brought against the Sudanese government which are based
on international humanitarian law, or even apply this law when it is clearly
37. The Complainant alleges that, in practice, the procedures in place,
which allow for compensation for human rights violations committed by the
Government of Sudan, are often inaccessible to those individuals whose
rights have been violated, due to the fact that current administrative and
legal solutions are serious obstacles to their use. Consequently,
complainants who ask that their rights be protected before Sudanese courts,
come up against obstacles which make these avenues of redress ineffective.
38. The Sudanese government alleges that the complainants did not use the
remedies available to them in the local courts before applying to the
Commission. It insists that neither the lawyer lodging the complaint, nor
the complainants, filed an appeal against the decision; this is proved from
the registers of the administrative courts.
39. The government maintains that the complainants, despite their insistence
in previous correspondence, did not transmit to them the reference number of
the appeal that had been filed which proves that no appeal was filed,
contrary to the assertions of the complainants who therefore did not exhaust
all the local remedies as provided in Article 56 of the African Charter on
Human and Peoplesí Rights.
40. It argues that the right of the complainants to file an appeal against a
decision of the court, is provided for in Article 20 (1) of the
administrative and constitutional code of justice of 1996 as amended in
2000, and documentation on decisions handed down in similar cases was
41. Article 56 (5) of the African Charter requires that "a communication be
introduced subsequent to exhaustion of local remedies, if they exist, unless
it is obvious to the Commission that the procedure for such recourse is
abnormally prolonged". The complaint before the Commission was received by
the Secretariat on 14th October 1998 and the decision to close the
universities was taken on 26th September 1998 - an interval of one month
between closure of the universities and receipt of the complaint.
42. The Commission is of the view that an interval of one month is a short
time within which the Complainant could have accessed and exhausted all
local remedies. Furthermore, the Complainant gives no indication of
instituting proceedings before the domestic courts.
For these reasons, and in accordance with Article 56(5) of the African
Charter, the Commission declares this communication inadmissible due to
non-exhaustion of local remedies.
Done at the 31st Ordinary Session held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 2nd
to 16th May 2002.