ECOWAS Court resumes virtual court sessions

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Sixty-nine cases would be handled virtually by the ECOWAS Court of Justice during the first quarter of 2021, according to the cause list released by the Registry of the Court.

Eleven of the cases are scheduled for judgment while the remaining 58 cases are scheduled for hearing.

In one of the cases scheduled for judgment on 3 February, a Non-Governmental Organization, the Collectif Cri de Coeur pour le Mali is asking the Court to hold the government of Mali liable for the violation of the rights of the victims of sexual abuse related to the conflict in the country’s North.

In the suit, the NGO also urged the Court to hold the government liable for denying the victims their right to fair trial and effective remedy as well as the failure to rehabilitate and compensate the victims.

The Applicant averred that during the armed conflict in Northern Mali and the capture of Gao town by the armed group, children of less than 18 years suffered severe sexual violence including rape, forced marriage and sex slavery and that these victims neither received healthcare nor social services from the Malian government.

It alleged that after the government took over the region from the armed group, some of the perpetrators who continue to live within their community, joined the loyalist groups and were occupying high positions to avoid judicial and disciplinary prosecutions.

The Applicant equally submitted that the State failed in its obligation to protect the victims as guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to compensate them for the serious violations.

The NGO is seeking among others, orders of the Court compelling the Republic of Mali to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, provide medical and psychological care to the victims, protect the victims and witnesses during investigation and prosecution, and pay each of the victims the sum of 40,000,000 CFA franc and 15,000,000 CFA franc for the physical and moral damages suffered respectively.

The Court will deliver its judgment on 3rd February 2021.

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