The Commission holds two ordinary sessions each year. The duration of the session varies in each case from 10 to 15 days depending on needs and finance. The date for an ordinary session is fixed by the Commission upon a proposal by the Chairperson of the Commission in consultation with the Chairperson of the AU Commission. The Secretary of the African Commission must communicate to the members the date and venue of the ordinary session at least 60 days ahead of the session.
The Commission may hold extraordinary sessions. Extraordinary sessions are convened by the Chairperson of the Commission at the request of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission or the majority of the members of the Commission. Notice of extraordinary
session should be sent to members as soon as possible before the session.
The agenda for an ordinary session is usually first established by the Secretary of the Commission in consultation with the Bureau of the Commission. In addition to the items proposed at the previous session, the Chairperson, Members of the Commission, States Parties, AU Organs, NHRIs, NGOs and any UN specialized agency may suggest additional items to be included in the agenda. However, the Bureau of the Commission has the final say on the items that will eventually be placed on the provisional agenda. In the case of extraordinary sessions, the provisional agenda includes only the points appearing in the convocation of the extraordinary session issued by the President. The provisional agenda must be distributed to members of the Commission no later than 60 days before the session, and in the case of other stakeholders, 45 days. Certain items of the provisional agenda and related documents may however be distributed 30 days before the session.
The Commission shall submit to each ordinary session of the AU Assembly a report of its activities during the sessions and between sessions. The Executive Council reviews the report on behalf of the Assembly. The report is presented by the President of the Commission or his representative. The Commission can publish information on its protection activities (communications and protection missions) only after the adoption of the report by the Executive Council and the Assembly. The Executive Council has withdrawn its authorization for the publication of the last two activity reports of the Commission. The basis for this decision is unclear. Prior to the adoption of the activity report by the AU Assembly, the Commission usually issues a communiqué immediately after the session.