IHRDA, APDF obtain another favourable judgment against Mali in gender-based violence case before ECOWAS Court

Banjul, 28 May 2018: The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court) 21 May 2018 handed-down its judgment in favour of the complainants in suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/35/17 Aminata Diantou Diane (represented by APDF & IHRDA) v Mali.

The case was filed before the ECOWAS Court in September 2017 by the “Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa” (IHRDA) and Mali-based partner Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes au Mali (APDF), on behalf of Aminata Diantou Diane.

The case is about discrimination and violence perpetrated against Aminata by her family-in-law, following a stroke attack that rendered her husband unconscious and incapacitated in 2013. Besides physical assault on Aminata, the brothers-in-law confiscated most of her husband’s property, in contravention of the Malian Family Code which provides that, “The tutelage of a married man cannot be entrusted to another person when his wife lives and enjoys all her mental faculties.” In addition, Aminata’s in-laws, with the complicity of the police in 2015, abducted her unconscious husband to an unknown destination, leaving her alone with their five children aged between 4 and 18 years.

Aminata sought justice before the Malian courts to no avail. Rather, her brothers-in-law in 2017 initiated a divorce action against her in lieu of her husband, whose whereabouts remained unknown. The case filed before the ECOWAS Court alleged violation of Aminata’s right to property, her right to equal protection by Malian Courts, her right to dignity, her right to have her cause heard; protection of her family and the best interests of her children; and Mali’s failure to provide her effective remedy.

In its verdict pronounced in Abuja, Nigeria, the ECOWAS Court found Mali in violation of Aminata’s right to protection and to have her cause heard. The Court ordered Mali to pay Aminata financial reparation worth Fifteen Million XOF (15,000,0000 XOF – about USD 27,000). The Court has equally ordered Mali to take adequate measures to locate Aminata;s husband.

IHRDA and APDF applaud the decision, which they describe as another milestone in the advancement of women’s rights in Mali and in the women’s rights jurisprudence of the ECOWAS Court, especially in the application of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol).

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