ECOWAS Court: Togo ordered to pay 1CFA symbolic reparation fine to Former PM Messan Kodjo

The ECOWAS Court has ordered Togo to pay one CFA to its former Prime Minister Gabriel Messan Kodjo as symbolic reparation for the immaterial damages suffered for the violation of his rights. Togo is also to bear the cost of the proceedings in Court. That country is to report to the Tribunal within three months from the date of notification of the judgment on steps taken to implement the orders.

According to Mr Kodjo on the request of the Public Prosecutor of Togo and the Attorney General of the Supreme Court over alleged criminal offences against him, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Togo, by resolution waived his immunity as a former Speaker of the National Assembly himself in violation of his right of defence. He contended that when the immunity was waived, criminal proceedings were brought against him during which he was arbitrarily arrested, charged, and released under conditions that violated his human rights. The Applicant claimed that the Public Prosecutor was not competent to formulate a request for the waiver of his Parliamentary immunity because he was not a judicial authority. That he argued was in breach of Article 79(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly.

Togo however refuted the arguments of Mr Kodjo and urged the court to dismiss his claims. The court held that Togo violated the applicant’s right to freedom of expression under Article 9 of the African Charter, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Court further declared that the detention and arrest of the applicant was arbitrary and unlawful.

By Beatrice Oppong

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