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Administrative Tribunal

Nature and Status

The Administrative Tribunal is an autonomous body of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its decisions are binding, final and without appeal. The Administrative Tribunal is made up of six judges of whom three form a quorum to hear a case. The Statute of the Tribunal provides for the independence of the Judges of the Tribunal.

The Secretariat of the Tribunal is headed by an Executive Secretary appointed by the AfDB’s President after consultation with the President of the Tribunal.

The Administrative Tribunal of the AfDB is pleased to inform all international regional organizations that they may become a member of its Tribunal for the settlement of disputes related to their staff.

Jurisdiction and applicable law

The Tribunal has jurisdiction under its Statute to hear and pass final judgment on applications by staff members contesting administrative decisions, for non- observance of their contracts of employment or the terms of their appointment, where the cause of action arose after 1st January 1998. Matters which may fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal include, for example, decisions regarding the payment of staff benefits, promotion, performance evaluation, separation from the service of the Bank, as well as disciplinary measures taken against a staff member.

The Tribunal’s decisions are based on the internal laws of the AfDB. This comprises the Agreement Establishing the African Development Bank, the Bank’s Regulations and Rules including Instructions issued by the President of the Bank. To interpret internal legal texts and rules of the AfDB, the Tribunal may draw on the jurisprudence of similar international institutions. The Tribunal applies generally recognized principles of international administrative law concerning the resolution of employment disputes of staff in international organizations.

Composition of the Tribunal

The Administrative Tribunal comprises six (6) judges appointed by the Board of Directors of the AfDB from a list of candidates drawn by the President of the AfDB after appropriate consultation.

Currently, the Tribunal comprises:

  • A President in the person of in the person of Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, of Nigeria, and Chairman of the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. He also served in the following positions:
    • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
    • Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
    • Justice of the Court of Appeal
    • Chief Judge Plateau State
    • Governor of the National Judicial Institute
  • A Vice-President in the person of Justice Leona Valerie THERON, of South African nationality. She is currently a Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Her areas of expertise include civil and criminal litigation, administrative law, labor law and social justice. She has held the following positions:
    • Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa
    • Judge of the High Court of South Africa
    • Advocate of the High Court of South Africa
    • Judge of the White Commission
    • Former Head of a special task force of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association

And three (3) other judges:

  • Justice Benjamin Joses Odokifrom Uganda is currently Judge of the Supreme Court of Swaziland. He has been awarded the Gusi International Peace Prize in Manila, Philippines, as well as being conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws LLD, (honoris causa) by the Commonwealth University in the UK (2013). He has served in the following positions:
    • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uganda
    • Chairman, Uganda Constitutional Commission
    • Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda
    • Director of Public Prosecution in Uganda
    • Director of the Law Development Center, Uganda
    • Chairman, The Uganda Law Council
    • Member, Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Justice Epuli Mathias ALOH, of Cameroonian nationality, is President of the judicial bench of the Supreme Court of Cameroon. He has helped in developing key legislations, providing an insight into the customs and traditions of legal practice and how they were harmonized with local laws in the former West Cameroon under British rule. He is author and conference speaker, with proven ability in adjudication, dispute resolution, legal drafting, and administration of justice and rule of law initiatives. He has served in the following positions :
    • On Secondment to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) in charge of investigating complaints, denunciations and information from whistle-blowers on corruption
    • President of the Committee of the translation of the OHDADA Uniform Acts
    • Justice of the Supreme Court and President of the Criminal Division
    • Justice of the Supreme Court, Judicial Bench
    • Interim President of the Administrative Bench of the Supreme Court
  • Professor Ahmed MAHIOU, Professor Ahmed MAHIOU, of Algerian nationality, is member of the Institute of International Law, former member and former President of the International Law Commission. He is Associate Professor of Law, Director of Research Emeritus at the CNRS, former Dean of the Faculty of Law of Algiers, former President of the International Law Commission of the United Nations, judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice and member of several national and international learned societies. He has served in the following positions:
    • Emeritus Research Director at the CNRS and former Director of the Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim Worlds (IREMAM), Aix-en-Provence
    • Former member of the UNESCO Appeal Board
    • Former Member and President of the United Nations International Law Commission
    • member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Fund for Indigenous Peoples

The process for the appointment of one other Judge is on course.

The Secretariat of the Administrative Tribunal of the African Development Bank is headed by the Executive Secretary, Abdoulkader Dileita, a Djiboutian national. Before joining the Bank, Mr. Dileita was a senior official and a lawyer in his country. He first joined the Bank as a long-term consultant in the Legal Services Department and then as Secretary of the Staff Appeals Committee.

Relation to Other Mechanism of Recourse

The Administrative Tribunal is the final step in the recourse mechanism for aggrieved staff members. It is a condition for resort to the Tribunal that all available administrative remedies be exhausted or that the Applicant and the Bank agree to submit the application directly to the Tribunal. The Administrative review process has been revised to take account of the establishment of the Tribunal. For non-disciplinary cases, a staff member with a grievance submits it directly to the Vice-President in charge of personnel matters and all the way through the Staff Appeals Committee if necessary. The staff member only then has the right to appeal the final decision of the President to the Tribunal.

In disciplinary cases, an aggrieved staff member may appeal against a disciplinary sanction taken by the President by filing an application to the Tribunal. Where provision has been made for a specialized appeals mechanism to deal with specified matters such as job evaluation, or the Staff Retirement Plan, an aggrieved staff member shall have recourse to the specialized appeals mechanism, with a right to seize the Administrative Tribunal. Some of these recourse mechanisms are permanent:

  • Ombudsman
  • Staff Appeals Committee
  • Disciplinary Committee
  • Pension Appeals Committee
  • Others can be created as needed and in order to resolve specific issues:
  • Special Job Classification Appeals Committee
  • Panel of Enquiry on Harassment.