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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights - Rules of Procedure

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Having Considered the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, Acting in accordance with Article 42.2 of the Charter, Has adopted the present revised Rules of Procedure:

Part I - General Provision: Organisation of the Commission

Chapter I - Sessions

Rule 1 - Number of Sessions

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (hereinafter referred to as "the Commission" shall hold the sessions which may be necessary to enable it to carry out satisfactorily its functions in conformity with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (hereinafter referred to as "The Charter").

Rule 2 - Opening Date

1. The Commission shall normally hold two ordinary sessions a year each lasting for about two weeks.

2. The ordinary sessions of the Commission shall be convened on a date fixed by the Commission on the proposal of its Chairman and in consultation with the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (hereinafter referred to as "The Secretary General").

3. The Secretary General may change under exceptional circumstances, the opening date of a session, in consultation with the Chairman of the Commission.

Rule 3 - Extraordinary session

1. The Commission may decide to hold extraordinary sessions, When the Commission is not in session, the Chairman may convene extraordinary sessions in consultation with the members of the Commission.

The Chairman of the Commission shall also convene extraordinary sessions:

a. At the request of the majority of the members of the Commission or
b. At the request of the current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity.

2. Extraordinary sessions shall be convened as soon as possible on a date fixed by the Chairman, in consultation with the Secretary General and the other members of the Commission.

Rule 4 - Place of meetings

The sessions shall normally be held at the Headquarters of the Commission. The Commission, in consideration with the Secretary General decide to hold a Session elsewhere.

Rule 5 - Notifications of the Opening Date of the Sessions

The Secretary of the commission (hereinafter referred to as the Secretary, shall inform members of the Commission of the date and venue of the first meeting of each session. This notification shall be sent, in the case of an Ordinary Session, at least eight (8) weeks, if possible, before the Session.

Chapter II - Agenda

Rule 6 - Drawing up the Provisional Agenda

1. The Provisional Agenda for each Ordinary Session shall be drawn up by the Secretary in consultation with the Chairman of the Commission in accordance with the provisions of the Charter and these Rules.

2. The Provisional Agenda shall include if necessary, items on: "Communications from States", and "Other Communications" in conformity with the provisions of Article 55 of the Charter. It should not contain any information relating to such communications.

3. Except as specified above on the communications, the Provisional Agenda shall include all the items listed by the present Rules of Procedure as well as the items proposed by.

a) The Commission at a previous Session;
b) The Chairman of the Commission or another member of the Commission;
c) A State party to the Charter;
d) The Assembly of Heads of State and Government or the Council of Ministers of the Organisation of African Unity;
e) The Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity on any issue relating to the functions assigned to him by the Charter;
f) A national liberation movement recognized by the Organisation of African Unity or by a non-governmental organisation;
g) A specialized institution of which the State parties to the Charter are members.

4. The items to be included in the provisional agenda under sub paragraphs b, c, f and g of paragraph 3 must be communicated to the Secretary, accompanied by essential documents, not later than eight (8) weeks before the Opening of the Session.

5.
a) All national liberation movements, specialised institutions, intergovernmental or non-governmental organisations wishing to propose the inclusion of an item in the Provisional Agenda must inform the Secretary at least ten (10) weeks before the opening of the meeting. Before formally proposing the inclusion of an item in the Provisional Agenda, the observations likely to be made by the Secretary must duly be taken into account;
b) All proposals made under the provisions of the present paragraph shall be included only in the Provisional Agenda of the Commission, if at least two thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting so decide.

6. The Provisional Agenda of the Extraordinary Session of the Commission shall include only the item proposed to be considered at that Extraordinary Session.

Rule 7 - Transmission and Distribution of the Provisional Agenda

1. The Provisional Agenda and the essential documents relating to each item shall be distributed to the members of the Commission by the Secretary who shall endeavour to transmit them tot members at least six (6) weeks before the opening of the Session.

2. The Secretary shall communicate the Provisional Agenda of that session and have the essential documents relating to each Agenda item distributed at least six weeks before the opening of the Session of the Commission to the members of the Commission, member States parties to the Charter, to the current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity and observers.

3. The draft agenda shall also be sent to the specialised agencies, to non governmental organisations and to the national liberation movements concerned with the agenda.

4. In exceptional cases the Secretary may, while giving his reasons in writing, have the essential documents relating to some items of the Provisional Agenda distributed at least four (4) weeks prior to the opening of the Session.

Rule 8 - Adoption of the Agenda

At the beginning of each session, the Commission shall if necessary, after the election of officers in conformity with rule 17, adopt the agenda of the Session on the basis of the Provisional Agenda referred to in Rule 6.

Rule 9 - Revision of the Agenda

The Commission may, during the Session, revise the Agenda if need be, adjourn, cancel or amend items. During the Session, only urgent and important issues may be added to the Agenda.

Rule 10 - Draft Provisional Agenda for Next Session

The Secretary shall, at each session of the Commission, submit a Draft Provisional Agenda for the next session of the Commission, indicating with respect to each item, the documents to be submitted on that item and the decisions of the deliberative organ which authorized their preparation so as to enable the Commission to consider these documents as regards the contribution they make to its proceedings, as well as their urgency and relevance to the prevailing situation.

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