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

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Chapter X - onduct of the Debates

Rule 43 - Quorum

The quorum shall be constituted by seven (7) members of the Commission,, as specified in Article 42 (3) of the Charter.

Rule 44 - Additional Powers of the Chairman

1. In addition to the powers entrusted to him/her under other provisions of the present Rules of Procedure, the Chairman shall have the responsibility to open and close each session; he/she shall direct the debates, ensure the application of the present Rules of Procedure, grant the use of floor, submit to a vote matters under discussion and announce the result of the vote taken.

2. Subject to the provisions of the present Rules of Procedure, the Chairman shall direct the discussions of the Commission and ensure order during meeting. The Chairman may during the discussion of an agenda item, propose to the Commission to limit the time allotted to speakers, as well as the number of interventions of each speaker on the same issue and close the list of speakers.

3. He/she shall rule on the points of order. He/she shall also have the power to propose the adjournment and the closure of debates as well as the adjournment and suspension of a sitting. The debates shall deal solely with the issues submitted to the Commission and the Chairman may call a speaker, whose remarks are irrelevant to the matter under discussion, to order.

Rule 45 - Points of Order

1. During the debate of any matter a member may, at any time, raise a point of order and the point of order shall be immediately decided by the Chairman, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. If a member appeals against the decision, the appeal shall immediately be put to the vote and if the Chairman's ruling is not overruled by the majority of the members present, it shall be maintained.

2. A member raising a point of order cannot, in his or her comments, deal with the substance of the matter under discussion.

Rule 46 - Adjournment of Debates

During the discussion on any matter, a member may move the adjournment of the debate on the matter under discussion. In addition to the proposer of the motion one member may speak in favour of and one against the motion after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote.

Rule 47 - Limit the Time accorded to Speakers

The Commission may limit the time accorded to each speaker on any matter, when the time allotted for debates is limited and a speaker spends more time than the time accorded, the Chairman shall immediately call him to order.

Rule 48 - Closing the list of speakers

The Chairman may, during a debate, read out the list of speakers and with the approval of the Commission, declare the list closed. Where there are no more speakers, the Chairman shall, with the approval of the Commission, declare the debate closed.

Rule 49 - Closure of Debate

A member may, at any time, move for the closure of the debate on the matter under discussion, even if the other members or representatives expressed the desire to take the floor. The authorisation to take the floor on the closure of the debate shall be given only to two speakers before the closure, after which the motion shall immediately be put to the vote.

Rule 50 - Suspension or Adjournment of the Meeting

During the discussion of any matter, a member may move for the suspension or adjournment of the meeting. No discussion on any such motion shall be permitted and it shall be immediately put to the vote.

Rule 51 - Order of the Motions

Subject to the provisions of Rule 45 of the present Rule of Procedure the following motions shall have precedence in the following order over all the other proposals or motions before the meeting.

a) To suspend the meeting
b) To adjourn the meeting]
c) To adjourn the debate on the item under discussion
d) For the closure of the debate of the item under discussion.

Rule 52 - Submission of Proposals and Amendment of Substance

Unless the Commission decides otherwise the proposals, amendments or motions of substance made by members shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat; they shall be considered at the first sitting following their submission.

Rule 53 - Decisions on Competence

Subject to the provisions of Rule 45 of the Procedure, any motion tabled by a member for a decision on the competence of the Commission to adopt a proposal submitted to it shall immediately be put to the vote.

Rule 54 - Withdrawal of a Proposal or a Motion

The sponsor of a motion or a proposal may still withdraw it before it is put to the vote, provided that it has not been amended. A motion or a proposal thus withdrawn may be submitted again by another member.

Rule 55 - New Consideration or a Motion

When a proposal is adopted or rejected, it shall not be considered again at the same session, unless the Commission decides otherwise. When a member moves the new consideration of a proposal, only one member may speak in favour of and one against the motion, after which it shall immediately be put to the vote.

Rule 56 - Interventions

1. No member may take the floor at a meeting of the Commission without prior authorisation on the Chairman. Subject to Rules 45, 48, 49 and 50 the Chairman shall grant the use of the floor to the speakers in the order in which it has been requested.

2. The debates shall deal solely with the matter submitted to the Commission and the Chairman may call to order a speaker whose remarks are irrelevant to the matter under discussion.

3. The Chairman may limit the time accorded to speakers and the number of the interventions which each member may make on the same issue, in accordance with Rule 44 of the present Rules.

4. Only two members in favour and two against the motion of fixing such time limits shall be granted the use of the floor after which the motion shall immediately be put to the vote. For questions of procedure the time allotted to each speaker shall not exceed five minutes, unless the Chairman decides otherwise. When the time allotted discussions is limited and a speaker exceeds the time accorded the Chairman shall immediately call him to order.

Rule 57 - Right to Reply

The right of reply shall be granted by the Chairman to any member requesting it. The member must, while exercising this right, be as brief as possible and take the floor preferably at the end of the sitting at which this right has been requested.

Rule 58 - Congratulations

The congratulations addressed to the newly elected members to the commission shall only be presented by the Chairman or a member designated by the latter. Those addressed to the newly elected officers shall only be presented by the outgoing Chairman or a member designated by him.

Rule 59 - Condolences

Condolences shall be exclusively presented by the Chairman on behalf of all the members. The Chairman may, with the consent of the Commission, send a message of condolence.

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