The Baldy Center Podcast

Terrain map: Satellite view shows continent of Africa with surrounding area. Image courtesy of Getty.

Mihreteab Taye discusses the institutional design of Africa's court systems

Published January 30, 2024

In Episode 38 of The Baldy Center Podcast, Mihreteab Taye provides insight into the nuanced dynamics of state behavior in Africa's courts. He finds that the African human rights system does not automatically grant individuals the right to bring cases before the African courts unless states make a declaration allowing direct individual access to the court. Whereas in the East African Court of Justice, individuals have direct access to the Court.  What matters in each court is the institutional design, which can either facilitate or inhibit the withdrawal of individual access to the courts by African states.

Keywords: Human Rights; International Law; East African Court of Justice; International Courts: Rwanda: Tanzania; International Commercial Arbitration; African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.   

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When I started this research, I was looking only at the withdrawal of individual access from the African Human Rights Court. It is not only Rwanda and Tanzania; there are also other states that have withdrawn, for example, Benin and Côte D'Ivoire. What intrigued me is that Rwanda and Tanzania are part of the East Africa Court of Justice. And I saw a trend that these states have withdrawn from the African Human Rights Court but not from the East African Court of Justice. The African Human Rights system allows for easy withdrawal of individual access to the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, whereas the African Court of Justice's institutional setup makes it challenging to withdraw individual access."

                —Mihreteab Tsighe Taye
                    (The Baldy Center Podcast, 2024)

Mihreteab Tsighe Taye, PhD (School of Law)

RESEARCH FOCUS: Law and Politics in Regional Human Rights; Economic Courts in Africa, international commercial arbitration

Mihreteab Taye.

Mihreteab Tsighe Taye, PhD

Mihreteab Tsighe Taye, PhD (School of Law) is a native of Ethiopia who came to UB through the university’s Scholars at Risk fellowship program. The program provides a safe and supportive academic home to scholars who face threats in their country of origin. Prior to coming to UB, Taye was at New York University School of Law as a Research Scholar from 2022-2023, and, a Hauser Postdoctoral Global Fellow from 2021-2022. Professor Taye received his Ph.D. in Law from the University of Copenhagen, an LL.B. from Addis Ababa University, and a master’s in international law from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Taye's research has focused particularly on law and politics in regional human rights and economic courts in Africa. 


At the UB School of Law, Dr. Taye teaches courses on Comparative Human Rights and International Commercial Arbitration.

At The Baldy Center in Fall 2023, Dr. Taye delivered the presentation, “Vulnerability of Academic Freedom in Countries under Violent Conflict.”

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Insight for students

"A holistic approach is important for young scholars and practitioners who aim to work in human rights and global and development in Africa. Understanding the multidimensional nature of this field is crucial. Be aware of the local context while navigating the global framework. This knowledge gives students a solid foundation for an impactful contribution."

"Another essential aspect is grounding knowledge in the specific sociopolitical context of Africa, which is engaging with local communities. It is important to immerse in the grassroots initiatives in Africa. Always maintain resilience and adaptability. An adaptable mindset is important. [...]

Engaging in advocacy for policy change that fosters positive transformation and collaborating with diverse stakeholders is very important. Above all, maintain a passion and commitment to this field."

    — Mihreteab Tsighe Taye
        (The Baldy Canter Podcast, 2024)

Logan, Podcast Host/Producer 2023-24



Logan, The Baldy Center’s 2023-2024 podcast host/producer, is a graduate student in UB's School of Architecture and Planning, Program on International Development and Global Health. Logan is interested in NGOs and nonprofit global health initiatives within the global south. Logan completed undergraduate studies in Public Health, with a minor in Spanish, and has recently been accepted into a certificate program at NYU x Rolling Stone for Modern Journalism. As graduate research assistant, Logan has worked for the Women’s Health Initiative, and, the Community for Global Health Equity. Recipient of the 2022 Art Goshin Global Health Fieldwork Award for research on Decentralization of Health Services in Ghana, Logan currently serves as a research assistant with Dr. Tia Palermo's 2PE lab. 

Executive Producers

Samantha Barbas, JD, PhD
Professor, UB School of Law; Director, The Baldy Center

Amanda M. Benzin, MFA
Associate Director,
The Baldy Center