DAR-ES-SALAAM, The elimination of visa requirements for African nationals for travel between countries on the continent and the extension of the jurisdiction of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) to try criminals are among critical issues which emerged at the African Judicial Dialogue which ended over the weekend.

The delegates appreciated Tanzania for its hospitality, especially the non-restriction on foreign participants to the Judicial Dialogue to reach the seat of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha in northern Tanzania without any visa requirement.

Justice Jame Alala Deng from South Sudan called on other African countries to emulate Tanzania, which had allowed the justices to attend the dialogue without any restrictions. I would like to thank the government of Tanzania for its efforts to enable the entering of the African judges to Arusha, freely, the justice said while contributing to the ten-year African Human Rights Action and Implementation Plan, 2017-2026 on the right of free movement.

Dr Deng told the participants to the dialogue that brought together Chief Justices and Presidents of Supreme and Constitutional Courts from 55 Africa Union (AU) member states that he came to Tanzania without any visa, but on reaching Kilimanjaro International Airport he did not stand there even for a minute.

I was welcomed and well treated. This is an example we need from all of us in Africa, the freedom of movement of citizens and the issue of visa barriers should not be there any longer. We are talking of united Africa and indeed Africa is uniting, but this should reflect on the movement of our people, he said.

Other participants welcomed the proposal, with Dr Ibrahim Khan, a consultant from Senegal, pointing out that to some extent some countries have made progress on the matter, in particular since 2016 when AU leaders met in Rwanda.

He cited Kenya, which has decided that all Africans may have obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. But an appeal was made by some of the delegates, notably a judge from the Supreme Court of Sudan, Justice Nahim Mohammed, for countries to exercise such freedoms with great caution.

On the jurisdiction of the African Court, Dr Khan said once the protocol was adopted by member States a criminal chamber would be set up to try offences not only linked to genocide and crimes against humanity, but also piracy and illegal exploitation by foreign companies.