Chapter III - Procedure of
The Commission may resort to any appropriate method of investigation; it may hear from
the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity or any other person capable of
Communication From States
If a State party to the present Charter has good reasons to believe that another State
party to this Charter has violated the provisions of the Charter, it may draw, by written
communication, the attention of that State to the matter. This communication shall also be
addressed to the Secretary General of the OAU and to the Chairman of the Commission.
Within three months of the receipt of the communication, the State to which the
communication is addressed shall give the enquiring State, written explanation or
statement elucidating the matter. This should include as much as possible relevant
information relating to the laws and rules of procedure applied and applicable, and the
redress already given or course of action available.
If within three months from the date on which the original communication is received by
the State to which it is addressed, the issue is not settled to the satisfaction of the
two States involved through bilateral negotiation or by any other peaceful procedure,
either State shall have the right to submit the matter to the Commission through the
Chairman and shall notify the other States involved.
Notwithstanding the provisions of 47, if a State party to the present Charter considers
that another State party has violated the provisions of the Charter, it may refer the
matter directly to the Commission by addressing a communication to the Chairman, to the
Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity and the State concerned.
The Commission can only deal with a matter submitted to it after making sure that all
local remedies, if they exist, have been exhausted, unless it is obvious to the Commission
that the procedure of achieving these remedies would be unduly prolonged.
1. The Commission may ask the States concerned to provide it with all relevant
2. When the Commission is considering the matter, States concerned may be represented
before it and submit written or oral representation.
After having obtained from the States concerned and from other sources all the
information it deems necessary and after having tried all appropriate means to reach an
amicable solution based on the respect of Human and Peoples' Rights, the Commission shall
prepare, within a reasonable period of time from the notification referred to in 48, a
report stating the facts and its findings. This report shall be sent to the States
concerned and communicated to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
While transmitting its report, the Commission may make to the Assembly of Heads of
State and Government such recommendations as it deems useful.
The Commission shall submit to each ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State
and Government a report on its activities.
1. Before each Session, the Secretary of the Commission shall make a list of the
communications other than those of States parties to the present Charter and transmit them
to the members of the Commission, who shall indicate which communications should be
considered by the Commission.
2. A communication shall be considered by the Commission if a simple majority of its
members so decide.
Communications relating to human and peoples' rights referred to in 55 received by the
Commission, shall be considered if they:
1. Indicate their authors even if the latter request anonymity,
2. Are compatible with the Charter of the Organization of African Unity or with the
3. Are not written in disparaging or insulting language directed against the State
concerned and its institutions or to the Organization of African Unity,
4. Are not based exclusively on news discriminated through the mass media,
5. Are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious that this
procedure is unduly prolonged,
6. Are submitted within a reasonable period from the time local remedies are exhausted or
from the date the Commission is seized of the matter, and
7. Do not deal with cases which have been settled by these States involved in accordance
with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, or the Charter of the
Organization of African Unity or the provisions of the present Charter.
Prior to any substantive consideration, all communications shall be brought to the
knowledge of the State concerned by the Chairman of the Commission.
1. When it appears after deliberations of the Commission that one or more
communications apparently relate to special cases which reveal the existence of a series
of serious or massive violations of human and peoples' rights, the Commission shall draw
the attention of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to these special cases.
2. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government may then request the Commission to
undertake an in-depth study of these cases and make a factual report, accompanied by its
findings and recommendations.
3. A case of emergency duly noticed by the Commission shall be submitted by the latter to
the Chairman of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government who may request an in-depth
1. All measures taken within the provisions of the present Chapter shall remain
confidential until such a time as the Assembly of Heads of State and Government shall
otherwise decide. . . .
3. The report on the activities of the Commission shall be published by its Chairman after
it has been considered by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.