African Union representatives are meeting this week to launch a new court that will address human rights issues.

The first meeting of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights began in The Gambia Sunday and will last until Wednesday. The purpose of the court is to provide a judicial body for the AU's commission on human rights.

The court's charter says 11 judges will serve on the court for a period of six years and may be re-elected only once. Members of the African Union Assembly will elect the judges by secret ballot. No two judges will be from the same country.

The A.U. established the court in 2004, merging it with the AU's previous Court of Justice.

No date has been set for the new court to start functioning.

Last weekend was the 25th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.