Republic of Guinea Ordered to Compensate Guinean Victims of Human Rights Violations

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Republic of Guinea to pay 160 million Guinean francs each to the heirs/next of kin of six deceased victims of attacks by security agents of the Republic of Guinea.

The Court also ordered the Respondent state, the Republic of Guinea  to pay 240 million Guinean francs, totalling 3.6 billion (3,600,000,000) Guinean francs as damages to 15 persons listed in the initiating application in the suit  for the violation of their rights by the State

Honourable Justice Gberi-Bè Ouattara who read the judgment on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 said the Respondent violated the right to life, right to effective remedy, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention as well as freedom from cruel, degrading and inhuman treatments of the Applicants.

However, the Court rejected the Respondent’s request for damages for the alleged abuse of court process and ordered the Respondent to bear all costs.

The Court also ordered the Respondent to execute the judgment within six (6) months and submit a report of the implementation to the Court.

Applicants’ counsels – Mr Foromo Fréderic Loua, Pépé Antoine Lama, Siba Michel Kolie and Théodore Michel Kolie – filed the suit ECW/CCJ/APP/50/18 before the Court on October 19, 2018 alleging violations of Applicants’ rights by the Republic of Guinea following the alleged attack of the Applicants’ Zoghota village.

Counsels claimed that the Respondent violated the right to life, freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention of the listed Applicants and other victims of alleged attack of their community by security agents of the Respondent, Republic of Guinea.

They averred that the Guinean Defence and Security Forces launched the attack at nightfall on August 3, 2012 resulting in the death of six persons, following protests over a breach of employment and basic amenities promised by mining companies and local administration to the riverine populace of Zoghota, the host community.

In the initiating application, they requested an order compelling the Respondent to pay each next of kin of the deceased the sum of five (5) billion Guinean francs totaling 30 billion Guinean Francs; another 45 billion Guinean francs for the victims of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and 1.5 billion Guinean francs to the victims of arbitrary arrest and detention.

The Applicants also requested an order of the Court compelling the Respondent to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of these violations and an order for institutional reform in the mining sector to guarantee equal protection of the local population and the international companies.

On their part, the Respondent submitted that there was an on-going investigation into the incidents which has led to indictments and arrest of some persons involved based on evidence. Consequently, counsel to the Respondent Lanciné Sylla urged the Court to dismiss the allegations of the Applicants.

On the panel were Honourable Justices Edward Amoako Asante, Gberi-Bè Ouattara and Januaria Moreira Costa.