In acknowledging the importance of making knowledge and information resources from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights more accessible to the lawyers and the public, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights established in 2009 a resource centre library). The library serves all 55 member states of the African Union (AU), providing its services in the official languages of the AU.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Library exists to provide efficient library and information services to the African Court but also supports the judicial activities and legal endeavours of judges, legal officers and staff of the court and approved external guests. The Library is accessible from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays, excluding weekends and recognized public holidays.

This year’s 2023 Library Week took place 11-15 September 2023 at the Court’s grounds in Arusha Tanzania, and was graced by the President of the African Court, Her Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud and was centered around the theme “Towards a Digital Human Rights Library for All”.  PALU as one of the most active litigants at the Court made sure to be in attendance.

As part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the African Court, comprehensive plans have been put in motion to finalize the digitization of the library system. This strategic initiative is designed to enhance accessibility to Humanitarian Law and publications via the repository, effectively transforming it into a dynamic hub for legal scholarship. Additionally, ongoing efforts are dedicated to fostering inter-library cooperation between the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and other legal service institutions. This digitization is vividly in line with the Court’s vision to be Africa’s leading center of excellence of information resources on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and all other relevant African and applicable international human rights instruments.

The key subject areas that the library acquires and provides materials include; the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African and other Human Rights Systems, International Courts, International Law, Case law, Constitutional Law, Comparative law, Administration law, Labor law, Migration law, Environmental law, Reference, Regional integration and other reference resources. The library organizes its collection in a cataloguing format using a standard MARC 21 and cataloguing rules where it is transitioning from Anglo-American cataloguing rules 2nd edition to the Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard. It employs the Library of Congress Classification system to classify its documents.

Moreover, the library prepares bibliographies on various human rights issues and disseminates them to various users on several international events including the African Human Rights Day, the Day of the African Child, World Human Rights Day, International Women’s Day, World Refugee Day, Court events/trainings and others.

The digitization of this library system will significantly benefit PALU and its members, streamlining access to repository materials with just a simple click. The library’s online catalogue (OPAC) and e-resources are available on the court’s website Library of the African Court on Human and People's Rights catalog (african-court.org), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Photo Courtesy of African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights