Decided Cases

Attempted murder of a widow and her 17-year-old son – against Mali

By December 11, 2015 May 17th, 2018 No Comments

Overview

This case was filed before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights on 30 June 2016, against Republic of Mali, on behalf of a widow and her son who were victims of attempted murder.

The said widow was severely injured by Mr Bossourou, a 30-year-old man, son of a prominent personality, on 13 February 2014. The perpetrator attacked the lady with a machete and tried to kill her. As a result, she was left unconscious and incapacitated. Her son tried to rescue her but he was also injured in the process by Bossourou. The misunderstanding between the victim and Bossourou arose from a business transaction between them. On 13 February 2016, after an argument with the victim, Bousourou took a machete and stabbed her brutally on various parts of her body. She survived the attack but was left incapacitated. She was abandoned to take care of her medical bills alone, with no assistance or compensation. The public prosecutor and local courts shielded the perpetrator from an appropriate punishment as he was sentenced to one year imprisonment on 27 February 2016, which he did not serve because he was granted release one month later. The Court decided that the injuries were minor without waiting for the results of the medical exam. As victims cannot appeal a criminal decision in Mali, the possibility of the victim and her son to get appropriate compensation at the national courts was absolutely compromised.

Upon the victim’s request, and in collaboration with our local partner APDF, we filed the case before the African Court. It argues that the failure on the part of the State to conduct a thorough investigation violates Article 3(4) of the Maputo protocol, which obliges states to take all measures to protect women from all forms of violence. The failure to provide victims with appropriate remedies constitutes a violation of Article 8 (a) of the Maputo protocol which obliges States to take all appropriate measures to ensure effective access by women to judicial and legal services, including legal aid. By not holding accountable the perpetrator, Mali is also in violation of the right to dignity enshrined in article 3 of the Maputo protocol. The failure to assist victims also amounts to a violation of her right to health.

Updates

28 February 2017

Government of Mali requested for extension of deadline to file its defense before the Court

21 March 2018

The Court declared the case inadmissible on grounds of failure to exhaust local remedies.