Government of Guinea ordered to Pay 940 Million Guinean Francs for gross violation of human rights of its Citizen

The ECOWAS Court of Justice on Wednesday, 8th May 2019 ordered the government of Guinea to pay 940 Million ( Nine hundred and forty million Guinean Francs (GNF) as compensation to Mr. Alhousseine Camara, a 21 year Guinean for the violation of his human rights ostensibly for stealing a woman’s bag.

Delivering judgement in a case brought by two Non-governmental Organisations, a three member panel of the court also ordered the government to issue a public apology to the victim and bear the cost of litigation. The government of Guinea did not file a defence even though it was duly served.

In the default judgment rendered by Honorable Justice Januaria Moreira Costa, the court held the government of Guinea liable for failure to fulfil its obligations to put in place measures to prevent the torture of the victim, whose fundamental rights were violated by agents of the State, and carry out an effective investigation of his complaint of torture with a view to prosecuting the culprits.

In the suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/30/16 filed before the Court on the 9th of August 2016 on behalf of the victim by “Meme Droit pour Tous” (MDT) and Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), the plaintiff alleged that his rights to freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, right to liberty, right to work, right to good health, and right to effective remedy were violated by the defendant through its agents.

The plaintiff urged the Court to compel the defendant to proscribe all forms of torture and educate the populace on the ills of torture. He equally urged the Court to order the defendant to prosecute the perpetrators of the violations, pay his medical bills, tender a public apology to him and pay compensation in the amount of 5,563,972,000 CFA Francs for the prejudices suffered.

In documents filed before the Court, Mr Camara said his ordeal started on the 16th of October 2011, when he reported to the office of the security agents after he was told they came looking for him only to be arrested without giving him a reason except that a certain Captain Konate asked him about the whereabouts of a bag he knew nothing about. He was later detained and gruesomely tortured resulting in multiple fracture of his arm and severe fire burns on his body.

He added that he was taken to a traditionalist for treatment and later contacted by one Commandant Sidibe who offered to enroll him in the armed forces if he remained silent about the ill treatment. He quoted the same Commandant Sidibe as having told his father that the injuries were sustained during an escape attempt with a stolen bag belonging to a woman.

The plaintiff averred that efforts to seek justice have not yielded appropriate results since there has been no outcome of an investigation or prosecution from the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Also on the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Gberi-Be Ouattara.