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Banjul, 3 April 2023: IHRDA and Centre de Documentation et de Formation sur les Droits de l’Homme (CDFDH), 22 March 2023, filed case against Togo before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court) on behalf of a victim who was tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment by Togolese law enforcement officers.

In August 2017, demonstrations were held across Togo by political actors, calling for the implementation of political reforms provided for in the Comprehensive Political Agreement (CPA) signed between the ruling party, opposition political parties and civil society, and the recommendations of the Togo Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, with a view to resolving the serious crisis that arose in the aftermath of the death of President Gnassingbé Eyadema in February 2005. These demonstrations, which were violently repressed by Togolese law enforcement officers, continued until December 2018, and resulted in several random arrests, including the Plaintiff who was not part of the protests. In detention, the Plaintiff has been subjected to several forms of torture by Togolese law enforcement officers, leading to various illnesses which require specialised treatment unavailable in jail. Several attempts to request for his bail and draw the Court’s attention to his plight have yielded no success.

The suit argues that, due to the lack of effective investigation of the complaints made by the victim, and prosecution of the perpetrators, Togo has violated his right to fair trial and liberty, and has also failed in its obligation to protect his right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as his right to dignity. These are rights and obligations enshrined in several human rights legal instruments applicable to Togo, notably the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention against Torture and other forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

The Applicants request the ECOWAS Court to hold Togo responsible for the alleged human rights violations, to order Togo to immediately release the victim and pay monetary compensation for damages suffered, and also to take all appropriate measures to ensure the perpetrators are punished.