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Houngue Eric Noudehouenou vs Republic of Benin

On January 21st, 2020, Mr. Houngue Eric Noudehouenou (the Applicant), filed an application instituting proceedings against the Republic of Benin (the defendant State) before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court or the ACHPR) for alleged violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) in its articles 5 and 7.

The Applicant claims that he was arrested by unidentified individuals and forcibly taken, without a warrant, to a police station where he was informed of the reason for his arrest, inter alia, for embezzlement of public funds. He was subsequently brought before the public prosecutor who presented him before an investigating judge of the Cotonou Court of First Instance who charged him with complicity in the embezzlement of public authorities and placed him under a detention warrant on February 27th, 2018 in Cotonou civil prison. He reportedly escaped from detention in October 2018. He maintains that this case was fabricated and appealed then lodged an appeal in cassation against the decisions against him.

The Applicant accompanied his initial application with a request for the indication of provisional measures to suspend the execution of the judgment sentencing him to 10 years’ imprisonment until the Court had ruled on the merits of the case.

On March 25th, 2020, the Republic of Benin withdrew the Declaration under which Benin accepted the jurisdiction of the Court to hear cases filed by individuals and non-governmental organizations. There was therefore a legal question regarding the fate of all the current cases not yet decided.  In its judgment of September 22th, 2022, the Court clarified that this withdrawal had no impact on pending cases and on new cases referred to it before the entry into force of said withdrawal, i.e. on March 26th, 2021. 

In its Order dated May 06th, 2020, the Court ordered the State of Benin to stay the execution of the judgment against the Applicant but rejected all other requests by the latter.

Order of 06-05-2020.pdf

The Applicant submitted further requests for the indication of provisional measures. The Court rejected some of them but ordered the respondent State to provide the applicant with a copy of an expert report contested by the parties and to issue a national identity card.

Order of 22-11-2021.pdf

Following a further request for the indication of provisional measures, the Court ordered the respondent State to take all measures to remove all obstacles to the Applicant’s access to medical care and to provide him with a copy of his medical file held by the Centre National Hospitalier Universitaire de Cotonou.

Order of 15-08-2022.pdf

Benin raised objections regarding the lack of jurisdiction and inadmissibility of the complaint. The Court delivered its judgment and considered that if it did have jurisdiction to hear the case, the application was not admissible in so far as the Applicant had filed the application with the Court of Justice after having lodged an appeal in cassation before the Beninese Supreme Court. Domestic remedies had therefore not been exhausted at the time of the initiation of the proceedings, a necessary condition for the admissibility of a complaint.

Judgment of 22-09-2022.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.

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