25 February 2020: On 13 January 2020, IHRDA and APDF filed a case against Mali before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), alleging the rape of an 11-year-old girl by a 36-year-old man, with Malian courts failing to provide remedy to the victim.
The incident occurred in March 2018, when the victim got intercepted by the accused while on her way to the market. Following the incident, the victim cried out for help, and the accused got arrested by passers-by who beat him up and led him to the police, where he claimed the victim had consented to the act. Medical reports confirmed that the girl had been raped and even infected with a disease which she continues suffering from. Since first week of April 2018 when the case was filed before a local court, no progress has been made. Meanwhile, the victim continues suffering from stigma both in the society and in school, which seriously affects her socialization and studies.
IHRDA and APDF allege that Mali has failed in its obligation to protect children against torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as well as discrimination; they also allege violation of the principle of the best interest of the child and the child’s right to a remedy. These are rights and obligations enshrined in several treaties to which Mali is party, notably the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. The plaintiffs request the ACERWC to declare Mali is guilty of the said allegations ; to order Mali to pay the victim monetary compensation for damages suffered, to provide the victim medical and psychosocial support, and to put in place several other structural measures to curb the prevalence of such violations and support victims.
23 November 2021: Case to be heard this day; Committee notifies parties of postponement.
17 March 2022: Committee notifies parties of hearing schedules 31 March 2022
29 March 2022: Committee notifies applicants of Mali’s response to IHRDA’s brief.
30 March 2022: IHRDA requests for adjournment of hearing to allow for time to respond to Mali’s brief.
31 March 2022: Committee notifies IHRDA of approval of IHRDA’s request for adjournment to its 40th Ordinary Session, and grants IHRDA 60 days to respond to respond to Mali’s brief.
30 November 2022: At 40th ordinary Session, Committee holds oral hearing, with both parties presenting arguments and responding to questions from the Committee.
7 June 2023: ACERWC notified plaintiffs of its decision taken at the 40th Ordinary Session held from 23 November to 1 December 2023 in Maseru, Lesotho. Decision shows ACERWC found Mali in violation of several obligations, notably the duty to protect the best interests of the child, protection against child abuse and torture, and against non-discrimination. ACERWC calls on Mali immediately ensure that the perpetrator is prosecuted and punished; and to put in place a series of structural measures for the elimination of all forms of violence against children, including enactment and implementation of relevant legislation, training of competent officers/authorities, as well as creation of specialized mechanisms.