The Transnational Human Rights Review


African Children's Rights Committee

Document Type


English Abstract

Established as a quasi-judicial treaty supervisory body rather than an international court, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child struggles for relevance in the African human rights system where most non-state stakeholders arguably prefer organs with clear judicial powers. Thus, similar to the experiences of its older counterparts, the Committee appears to be under subtle pressure to substitute or at least reinforce its quasi-judicial character with more judicial powers and action. In essence, the Committee suffers from the uncertainty that prevails in international law regarding the definition of the term quasi-judicial; and the unclear distinction between quasi-judicial bodies and international courts. This paper seeks to contribute to addressing that uncertainty within international human rights law by showing that an important defining distinction between quasi-judicial bodies and international courts is the purpose for their respective establishment. Accordingly, the paper simultaneously highlights the need to retain the Committee in its original character and challenges the view that quasi-judicial bodies are established only because states desire to water-down treaty obligations by creating supervisory bodies that lack power to challenge violative state action. This paper also argues that quasi-judicial bodies have their own intrinsic value in promoting the implementation of international human rights standards so that forcing quasi-judicial bodies to act like international courts defeats the purpose and thus, the value of quasi-judicial bodies.