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Case challenging sanctions on Mali commences

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice will begin the hearing of two interlocutory applications, in a case instituted by two associations in Mali against the ECOWAS Commission and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.

The case, scheduled for Friday, 25 September 2020, is challenging the legality of the sanctions imposed on the Republic of Mali on Friday, 18 August 2020. This follows the military coup against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

In the interlocutory application filed by the Malian Coalition and the Consumers Association of Mali, both registered in the country, the associations are asking for the orders of the Court suspending the sanctions, which were announced by the ECOWAS Commission, and for the accelerated hearing of the substantive suit challenging the sanctions.

A statement by the ECOWAS Court said that in suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/36/20, the two associations claimed that the President of the Commission acted ultra vires in imposing the sanctions. According to the statement, the procedure was not in conformity with the relevant ECOWAS texts under which sanctions should be brought against member states for failure to honour their obligations to the community, as this is reserved for heads of state and government of the community.

The plaintiffs, who are being represented by Modibo Diakite, Oumar Tounkara, Abdrahamane Diallo, Maxime Poma, and the law firm of SCP d’Avocats, DO-FINI CONSULT, claimed that the sanctions, which were enforced by neighbours, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger, with the closure of their borders, are negatively impacting on a population already “bruised by insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as poor governance.”

In the initiating application filed before the Court on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, the associations claimed that the sanctions constitute not only the violation of the right of the people of Mali to the freedom of movement guaranteed in ECOWAS texts, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the economic, social and cultural rights of Malian citizens in the community, as well as their right to non-discrimination.

According to the statement, among the reliefs sought is an order for the payment of compensation for prejudices suffered in the sum of 1 000 000 CFA francs for each individual. Further, another 10 000 000 CFA francs for each legal person, as well as the payment of the same amount for the violation of human rights.

The associations also prayed the court to order the state of Cote d’Ivoire to pay a symbolic 1 CFA to the plaintiffs for the violation of their human rights through the discriminatory treatment of Malians.

“A three-member panel of the court, comprising Honorable Justices Dupe Atoki (presiding), Keikura Bangoura and Januária Tavares Silva Moreira Costa, will hear the case.

“The proceeding can be followed via Zoom, using the ID: 849 4983 1562 with the passcode: 650799, on Friday, 25 September 2020,” the statement added.



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