Prosecuting torture in Africa
: the source, nature and content of the obligation

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis argues that there is an implied obligation for State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to investigate allegations that those within their jurisdiction are responsible for acts of torture and to submit the results of such investigations for consideration by their prosecuting authorities. This has given rise to the African Commission’s assertion that State Parties to the Charter must prosecute, or extradite, those suspected of torture. The detailed content of these implied obligations, which are derived from the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment articulated within Article 5 of the African Charter, is consistent with the express international obligation to investigate and prosecute as set out in the UNCAT. The significance of this is that there is a prevalent preference within Africa to pursue “African solutions to African problems”, which has resulted in a reluctance within the region to ground their responses to human rights violations in international instruments such as the UNCAT. The African Charter System, consequently, provides an important legal basis for these obligations which enhances the possibility of such investigations being both conducted and of their resulting in prosecutions within the region.
Date of Award21 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorPatrick Capps (Supervisor) & Malcolm D Evans (Supervisor)


  • Torture
  • Human Rights
  • International Law

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