Tuesday March 20, 2018
By Tranquility News Reporter, Arusha
A self-proclaimed grandmother, Ms Georgia Pennesis, has turned down a Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test to confirm her biological ties with her ‘grandchild’ Robert Pennesis at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights based in Arusha, Tanzania.
Justice Tujilane Chizumila, one of the judges presiding over the case, had asked her if she was ready for the test during a cross examination session, but the 70-year-old woman said she had a medical glitch which prevented her from taking such a test.
Tanzania’s Senior State Attorney Hashim Ngole initially asked her to attest her relationship with Robert during the Monday session at the court.
Surprisingly she said Robert was her biological grandson and an adopted one as well, prompting the judge to inquire on the test.
Tanzania authorities arrested and detained Robert in a prison in Kagera Region on January 7, 2013, allegedly for illegally sneaking and living in the country without visa, prompting Ms Georgia to file the case No 013 of 2015 on his behalf at the African Court on May 10, 2015.
She argues in the case that Robert is a bona fide Tanzania citizen, as he was born in the East African country and that his arrest and detention does not only violate the Tanzania Constitution, but also the Protocol 1 to the Geneva Convention, Rule No. 59.1, as well as the Geneva Convention, Rule No. 1 to 4.
Georgia was the sole witness during the cross examination session.
Another Principal State Attorney Sara Mwaipopo pleaded with the court to dismiss the application, explaining that the conventions in question were reserved for cases of war. She further argued that Robert had not exhausted local remedies before he sought the continental court’s intervention.
The court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the states.
Specifically, it has two types of jurisdictions, namely contentious and advisory.
It may receive cases filed by the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights, state parties to the Protocol or African Intergovernmental Organisations.
Non-governmental organisations with observer status before the African Commission and individuals can also institute cases directly before the Court as long as the state against which they are complaining has deposited the Article 34(6) declaration recognising the jurisdiction of the court to accept cases from individuals and NGOs.
The court will tomorrow deliver four judgments, including one involving a famous musician from the Democratic Republic of Congo Nguza Viking and his biological son Johnson Nguza against the United Republic of Tanzania.
The duo has been operating in Tanzania for decades before they were convicted of multiple rapes and sentenced to life imprisonment.
They resorted to the continental court to challenge the judgment, not knowing the Tanzania President John Magufuli would surprisingly set them free.