Communication 398/11: IHRDA and OCDH (on behalf of Guy Yambo) v Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)

Brief Facts

Guy Marcellin Yambo, aged 37, went missing on 11 January 2007. On 23 January, after a fruitless search, the family was summoned to the Ouenzé 2 (Ouenzé Mandzandza) police station to be informed of Mr Yambo’s death and that his body had been transferred to the municipal mortuary. Upon identification, Mr Yambo’s body bore obvious trauma marks, which the police claimed were inflicted by a co-detainee. The family was unable to afford costs of an autopsy. The death certificate, obtained after several months, stated a road accident as the cause of death.

On 23 May 2007, the Yambo family sued the police for denying assistance to a person in danger, murder and torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, all crimes under Congolese law. The case remains pending to date. No officers were disciplined and the commanding officer was simply transferred to another station.

Alleged Violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Article 4 – Rights to life and personal integrity

Article 5 – Prohibition of torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment

Article 6 – Freedom from arbitrary arrest

Article 7 – Fair trial

Article 26 – State obligation to secure the independence of the courts

Venue

This communication was filed before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2007.

Status of the Communication

Frustrated by the undue delay at the national level, the Yambo family, through the assistance of IHRDA and Observatoire congolais des droits de l’home (OCDH) are seeking  justice before the ACmHPR for the violation of Guy Yambo’s human rights.

The complainants assert that the death of Mr Guy Marcellin Yambo while in police custody and the subsequent failure of the state to ensure justice and reparations are in violation of the human rights guaranteed to Mr Yambo and his family by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

In November 2010, IHRDA and OCDH filed a communication before ACmHPR against the Republic of Congo. The case was filed on behalf of the Yambo Family. The ACmHPR was seized of the communication and it was at admissibility stage from 2011-2013.

On the 27 November 2013, the ACmHPR informed IHRDA that this communication was found admissible.   IHRDA submitted its merit brief on January 2014, and awaits the Commission’s decision.

Litigation Partners

IHRDA’s litigation partner in this communication is the Observatoire congolais des droits de l’homme (OCDH).

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