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Banjul, 22 June 2021: The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court) has today 22 June 2021 handed-down its judgment in favour of the plaintiff in suit no ECW/CCJ APP/42/19-Kadiatou SIBY v Mali.

The case was filed in November 2019 by Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and Malian partner Association pour le Progrès et le Défense des Droits des Femmes au Mali (APDF), on behalf of the victim. The case pertains to discrimination and persecution against Kadiatou (a widow) by her in-laws and violation of her right to housing, property and dignity, following the death of her husband in 2013. Prior to filing before the ECOWAS Court, the case had been pending before the local courts for several years.

In its verdict, the Court finds Republic of Mali in violation of the right of Kadiatou and her children to dignity, and the right for her case be heard within a reasonable time. The Court also finds that Mali has failed in its duty to protect the victim and her family, and to protect the best interest and the right to development of her children. These are rights and obligations provided for in major regional and international human rights legal instruments to which Mali is a party, notably the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The Court orders Mali to try the case brought by the victim before the local courts within a reasonable time, to liquidate the estate left by her late husband according to the law, and to pay her compensation worth one hundred million FCFA (about one hundred and eighty-one thousand US Dollar) for damages.

“We are very happy with this decision, as it is not only a major step towards enabling Kadiatou and her children to obtain justice for all the prejudice they have experienced, but also serves as a precedent for the protection of the rights of widows and orphans in Africa”, IHRDA Executive Director, Gaye Sowe, noted, following the pronouncing of the judgment.

For inquiries, contact:

Eric Bizimana

Senior Legal Officer, IHRDA


Djeugoue Brice Martial

Grants, Publications and Communications Manager, IHRDA