Anudo Ochieng Anudo vs United Republic of Tanzania

On May 24th, 2015, Mr. Ochieng Anudo, filed before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) an application instituting proceedings against the United Republic of Tanzania for alleged violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) in its articles 7, 12 et 13 as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in its article 15.

In this instance, the Applicant contends that while trying to accomplish necessary administrative procedures, the Tanzanian authorities seized his passport alleging doubts as to his citizenships. He was eventually stripped of said citizenship and deported to Kenya. The Kenyan government in turn deported him back to Tanzania; however as he could not legally enter the country he remained in a buffer zone between the two States, living in precarious conditions and total insecurity. He alleges furthermore that he wrote to the the State Department of Tanzania to ask why all his documents had been taken from him as well to the Anti-Corruption Office to inform them that he was asked to give a bribe to remain in the country, which he refused to do. He was also arrested and abused for 7 days before being escorted back to the Kenyan border. According to him, all of this was done in violation of the Charter and the UDHR

The defendant State affirms that it had conducted a very thorough investigation in the native village of the Applicant and verified the documents submitted before concluding that Mr.  Ochieng Anudo was not really a Tanzanian citizen.

On November 21st, 2019, the Republic of Tanzania deposited the instruments of withdrawal of the Court’s declaration of jurisdiction to receive applications from individuals and non-governmental organizations. In issuing its decision on December 2nd, 2021, the Court has been faithful to its consistent jurisprudence of dealing with all cases enrolled in the Registry before the date of entry into force of the withdrawal of the declaration.

As a preliminary point, Tanzania raised objections relating to the lack of jurisdiction of the Court and inadmissibility of the application. After examining the matters, the Court concluded that the case was admissible and declared itself competent to hear it. It then turned to the merits of the case.

First, with regards to the alleged violation arising from the deprivation of nationality, the Applicant contends that:

  •  His right to citizenship and not being arbitrarily deprived from it  was breached in so far as he had been deemed a Tanzanian citizen since his birth, that both his parents are Tanzanian citizens and that the doubts only arose when he had to accomplish certain administrative procedures for his wedding. The defendant State replied that Mr. Ochieng Anudo was granted a passport using false documentation. The Court notes that the legal point is to decide if the deprivation of nationality complied with international and applicable norms and Human Rights. Having made the decision of taking away the Applicant’s citizenship, the burden of the proof was on Tanzania and the State could have granted the request of Mr. Ochieng Anudo’s father (whose citizenship is not in question), who asked to take a DNA Test to prove that he was in fact the biological father of the Applicant. Having refused to administer the DNA Test, the decision to strip the Applicant of his citizenship was arbitrary and in breach of article 15 UDHR;
  • His right to reside in, leave and come back to his country was violated: the Court notes that there was 7 days between the day he was arrested and the day he was deported out of the country, during which the Applicant was detained in a police station without access to legal access. This is a violation to international law. The same applies for the deportation proceedings. The Court concluded that Tanzania violated articles 12(2) of the Charter and 13 ICCPR;
  • His right to be heard by a judge was not respected as his case was not heard before a court between the moment he was arrested and the moment he was deported: The African Court concluded that by ruling the Applicant an “illegal immigrant” and denying him the Tanzanian citizenship without affording him the option to appeal this decision before a national jurisdiction, the defendant State had violated its obligation enshrined in article 7(1) of the Charter.

The Applicant also maintains that by a ripple effect, the decision to withdraw his passport and citizenship caused other breaches of his rights guaranteed by the Charter and other international instruments such as: the right to work (art 15 of the Charter), the right to marry and start a family (art 23 of the Charter), the right to freedom, safety and protection against arbitrary detention and arrests (art 6 of the Charter).

The Court specified that it did not have the power to order the State to annul a decision from the Immigration services of the Country.

Judgment of 22-03-2018.pdf

On November 21st, 2019, the Republic of Tanzania deposited the instruments of withdrawal of the Court’s declaration of jurisdiction to receive applications from individuals and non-governmental organizations. In issuing its decision on December 2nd, 2021, the Court has been faithful to its consistent jurisprudence of dealing with all cases enrolled in the Registry before the date of entry into force of the withdrawal of the declaration.

In its judgment on reparations, the Court awarded the Applicant 179 Million Tanzanian Shilling in compensation for material and moral prejudice, as well as 50 Million for the indirect victims, namely the children and parents of Mr. Ochieng Anudo. 

Judgment of 02-12-2021.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.