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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 21 Feb 2018 : 13:54:30
This is indeed a triumph for four Gambian journalists for the violation of their human right and subjecting them to degrading treatment.to me the judgement great though it is for The Gambia,BUT it APPEARS to ME is yet another problem for the Government of THE NEW GAMBIA.
he ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the government of The Gambia to pay six million Dalasis in compensation to four Gambian journalists for the violation of their human right and subjecting them to degrading treatment.
Alhagie Jobe and Lamin Fatty, fourth and fifth plaintiffs in a suit filed by four journalists and NGO were awarded two million Dalasis each for the violation of their human rights including the right to freedom of expression and right to freedom from torture while Fatou Camara and Fatou Jaw Manneh, second and third plaintiffs would each get 1 million Dalasis for the violation of their rights.
A three member panel of the Court, presided over by Honorable Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, which handed down the judgement also ordered the government of The Gambia to amend or repeal the obnoxious laws with which it relied upon to incarcerate the three plaintiffs.
The panel rejected the Defendant’s claim that the first plaintiff, the Federation of African Journalists, lacked the locus standi to institute the action as the Court has established that the plaintiff is a duly registered and certified Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). It also dismissed the Defendant`s claim that the matter is statute barred as untenable as the cause of action still subsists.
In suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/36/15, the four plaintiffs and the Federation of African Journalists through their counsel Mr.Noah Ajere approached the court alleging the violation of their fundamental rights by the State for its failure to protect the rights of its citizens as provided for in relevant international texts to which The Gambia is a signatory.
The plaintiffs all submitted that security agents of the Defendant State arbitrarily arrested, harassed and later detained them under inhuman conditions forcing the second, third and fourth plaintiffs into exile ‘for fear of persecution and other forms of persecution including the fear of physical and mental harm, as a consequence of their work as journalists.’
The second, third, fourth and fifth plaintiffs, who are practicing journalists in The Gambia and members of the Federation of African Journalists, an umbrella body/association for journalists in Africa, claimed they are victims of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in The Gambia.
The second plaintiff averred that she was arbitrarily arrested and detained by intelligence agents of the defendant for allegedly being the source of false news and fled the country while on bail for fear of unfair trial.
In his case, the third plaintiff claimed he was convicted for sedition/publication of false news about the state of Gambia for which he was charged to court, which found him guilty and ordered him to pay a fine which he paid before leaving on exile.
For the fourth, he claimed to be the victim of arbitrary arrest and detention for 17 months during which he was tortured and later charged with possession of materials with sedition intention/intent of sedition. Though he was acquitted, he subsequently fled The Gambia.
The plaintiffs demanded an order of the Court amongst others to compel The Gambia to amend its laws to the extent of its inconsistency with international laws including the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights accordingly and ensure total/absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment. Also on the panel, which delivered the judgement on Tuesday 13th February 2018, were Honorable Justices Maria do Ceu Silva Monteiro and Alioune Sall.
|1 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 22 Feb 2018 : 17:30:43
More info about the ECOWAS Court:
QUESTION OF THE DAY
The Ecowas Community Court of Justice was created pursuant to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993 to serve as its judicial organ charged with resolving disputes related to the Community’s treaty, protocols and conventions.
In 2005 a Supplementary Protocol to the treaty made provision for the court to have competence to hear individual complaints of alleged human rights violations. Hence the relevant portion of Article 10 of the amended protocol now reads:
“Access to the Court is open to the following: d) Individuals on application for relief for violation of their human rights; the submission of application for which shall:
Not be anonymous; nor
Be made whilst the same matter has been instituted before another International Court for adjudication.”
The seven members of the court aged between 40 and 60 are drawn from member states and are appointed by the Ecowas Heads of State. No two judges can be nationals of the same state. A member cannot serve for more than two five year terms. A judge can be removed from office by the Heads of State in case of misconduct, inability to exercise his/her functions or physical or mental disability based on a report of plenary session of the court.
The court gives legal advisory opinion on matters relating to interpretation of the community law and examines cases of failure by Member States to honour their obligations under the Community law, including human rights.
Decisions of the Court shall be final and immediately enforceable.
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