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Case of torture in custody against Guinea

By September 6, 2016 September 10th, 2019 No Comments

IHRDA and local partner Les Mêmes Droits pour Tous (MDT) filed this case on 9 August 2016 against the Republic of Guinea before 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 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, the victim 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, the victim 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 the victim’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 the victim 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 the vicitim 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.

Updates

4 March 2019: Case was to be heard, but adjourned to 26 March 2019.

26 March 2019: Case argued and adjourned to 7 May 2019 for judgment.

7 May 2019: Court passed verdict which holds Guinea was in violation of Camara’s rights to liberty and freedom from torture. Court ordered Guinea to pay Camara reparation amounting to 940,000,000 GNF (Nine Hundred and Forty Million Guinean Francs – equivalent to about USD 103,000).