Press Release

16 August, 2016

Legal action against torture perpetrated by State agents:
IHRDA & MDT sue Republic of Guinea before ECOWAS Court

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and the Guinea-based non-governmental organization Les Mêmes Droits pour Tous (MDT) filed a complaint on 9 August 2016 against the Republic of Guinea before the Court of Justice for the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court).

The suit relates to acts of torture inflicted on a Guinean national by Gendarme forces in 2011 while in custody.

Following the acts of torture, the victim Camara sustained serious fire burns and fractures, but it was thanks to the support of loved ones that he was able to receive proper medical attention, after which he was liberated from Gendarme custody. As a result, Camara has been rendered incapacitated and unable to work. Though his lawyers initiated domestic legal proceedings in 2012, no progress has been made in the case. Government has not taken measures to investigate the violations; thus, Camara has not received any form of reparation, whereas the perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity.

The complainants in this case allege the violation of several rights, notably Camara’s right to freedom from torture, his right to an effective investigation, his right to liberty and security of the person, his right to health, and his right to work. The complainants argue that the Government of Guinea has failed in its obligation to prevent torture, to carry-out effective investigation on acts of abuses, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to provide Camara with reparation.

On the basis of the foregoing, the complainants are requesting the ECOWAS Court to, among others:

  • Declare that the Republic of Guinea has violated the rights evoked in this case;
  • Pass an injunction for the Republic of Guinea to carry-out immediate and effective investigation of the violations and bring the perpetrators to justice;
  • Pass an injunction urging the Republic of Guinea to take specific measures to compensate Camara for damages and to take charge of his health care; and
  • Pass an injunction urging the Republic of Guinea to promulgate specific laws that prohibit/punish torture in accordance with its international obligations, and put in place other legislative, administrative and educative measures that can contribute to prevent torture in custody.
It is worth noting that torture perpetrated by State agents in Guinea is endemic; nevertheless, the government has not taken sufficient measures to prevent the practice or punish the perpetrators, thereby perpetuating a climate of impunity.

Guinea has ratified the major African Union and United Nations instruments that prohibit the violations alleged in this case, notably the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


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