ECOWAS Court Awards 30 Million CFA to Togolese Citizen

Ecowas Court
Ecowas Court

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has awarded the sum of 30 million CFA as reparation to Mr. Agbogbo Kossi Edem, a Togolese for the violation of his human rights following beatings by security agents of the Togolese Republic. 

He was beating while participating in a demonstration calling for the release of the results of the country’s 2020 presidential election.

The Judge Rapporteur in the case, Justice Claudio Monteiro Gonçalves, who delivered the judgement, said the award was for the violation of the Applicant’s right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Court also held that the detention of the Applicant by the Respondent was arbitrary and unlawful while his right to effective remedy were also violated.

It, therefore, ordered the Republic of Togo to undertake immediately the investigation of the applicant’s complaint over the incident to ascertain those responsible for the violations.

In documents filed before the Court, Mr. Edem said he was beaten until he lost consciousness and was injured by the agents of the state while trying to help an elderly man trying to overcome the effect of the tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.

He described the action of the agents as a violation of his human rights, particularly the violation of his right to physical and moral integrity, as well as his right to the prohibition of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, liberty, arbitrary arrest and effective remedy.

In the initiating application filed on 18th August 2022, the applicant said that he participated in a demonstration on 22nd September 2020 organised by the Dynamic Monsignor KPODZRO (DMK), a group of political parties and civil society organizations, urging the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to publish the results of each polling station used for the election.

He said that no sooner had the demonstration started that the security forces arrived and fired tear gas canisters into the crowd, resulting in a stampede during which some of the demonstrators were beaten up.

He said while he was trying to help an elderly man struggling to overcome the effect of the tear gas, he was beaten with truncheons by ‘a horde’ of law enforcement officers who confiscated his mobile phone and threatened him with death.

The Applicant said he managed to escape from the scene but was arrested around the street and subsequently beaten again during which he suffered injury and thereafter dumped in a van, handcuffed and later detained.

The Applicant, who was represented by his counsel, Raphaël N. KPANDE-ADZARE contended that the ill-treatment amounted to the violation of his right to physical and mental integrity as well as right not to be subjected to acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Moreover, he said the actions violated right to an effective remedy enshrined in Articles: 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 8 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 14-1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and 19 of the Togolese Constitution of October 14, 1992.

Among the reliefs sought was an order of the Court declaring that there has been a violation by the Republic of Togo of his right to physical and moral integrity, as well as his right to prohibition from torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, right to liberty, freedom from arbitrary arrest and right to effective remedy.

He also asked the Court to enjoin the Respondent to take all appropriate, urgent, and necessary measures to ensure that alleged perpetrators, their accomplices and sponsors, were prosecuted and punished in accordance with the laws in force.

He asked the Court to order the Togolese State to pay 500 million CFA Francs for the acts of torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment and 250 million CFA Francs for his illegal and arbitrary arrest; and 150 million CFA Francs for damages suffered for the violation of his right to an effective remedy.

But in its defence, filed on March 20, 2023, the Respondent State, represented by its counsel AQUEREBURU & PARTNERS denied the facts as presented by the Applicant and urged the Court to reject all the Applicant’s pleas as unfounded and therefore to reject all his claims.

Also, on the Court’s three member panel for the suit were Justices Dupe Atoki presiding and Sengu M. Koroma.

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