Ivoirian seeks One Billion CFA Francs compensation from the Government for the alleged violation of his rights

The ECOWAS Court has scheduled judgment for 23 April 2021 in a case brought by an Ivoirian, Mr Kodjo Claude urging the Court to declare the government of Cote d’Ivoire liable for alleged human rights violations following his detention beyond the 18 months allowed under the country’s penal code.

At the Court’s hearing of Thursday, 18 March 2021, counsel to the Applicant, Mr Souleymane Diallo argued that Mr Claude has been on preventive detention in Abidjan’s correction centre beyond the legal limit specified in Articles 166, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Ivoirian Code of Penal Procedure (CPP).

He submitted that the Ivoirian government also failed to implement Decision no 64/20 of 29 January 2020 of its Court of Appeal that ordered the Applicant’s statutory release under the supervision of the prosecutor general. 

In suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/01/21, Mr Diallo claimed that the judicial procedure taken by the Respondent violated the rights of the Applicant and sought orders of the Court for his immediate release; an end to the violation of his right to liberty and security as well as right to presumption of innocence as guaranteed in Articles 6 & 7 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights respectively.

He also demanded the payment of one billion CFA franc as reparation for prejudice suffered, and an order mandating the Respondent to notify the Court within 30 days of measures taken to execute the decision of the Court.

On their part, counsel to the Defendant state Mr Cyprien Essis submitted that the Applicant who is a financial analyst/expert was arrested for complicity in a fraudulent crime and placed under preventive detention for an initial six months which was subsequently extended for 18 months.

He added that although the appeal court granted his release, there was another appeal pending at the Court of Cassation awaiting decision.

Consequently, he argued that the detention of the Applicant was consistent with the laws of Cote d’Ivoire and urged the Court to dismiss the case.

In the Applicant’s counter argument, he claimed that the appeal (application) before the Court of Cassation was non-operative and urged the Court to compel the Respondent to implement the decision of the appeal court for his immediate release.

The matter was heard by a panel of three judges comprising Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara (presiding), Dupe Atoki (judge rapporteur) and Januaria Costa (member).