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Komi Koutche vs Republic of Benin

On March 25th, 2020, Mr. Komi Koutche, the applicant, filed an application instituting proceedings against the Republic of Benin before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the ACHPR or the Court) for alleged violations on the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) in its article 7.

Following audit reports on the management of the cotton sector and the management of the National Microfinance Fund (NMF) commissioned by the Beninese government, Mr. Komi Koutche had been indexed for mismanagement and embezzlement. He thought himself wronged in so far as he had not been heard before the publication of these reports, hence, the applicant lodged two appeals with the Constitutional Court concerning each of the reports for violation of the adversarial principle and the right of defence. Only one of these proceedings was upheld by the Constitutional Court. Mr. Koutche also claims to have learned through the press that he was being prosecuted.

According to the Applicant, this decision of the Constitutional Court is “the keystone” of all the complaints and damages he has suffered, inasmuch as all the acts taken against him, in particular, the international arrest warrant, the extradition request, the cancellation of his passport, the refusal to issue the tax clearance and the criminal proceedings initiated against him are based on the audit to which he has been subject.

He accompanied his application before the ACHPR with a request for the indication of provisional measures, requesting the suspension of the execution of the judgment of September 25th, 2019 of the Investigation Commission of the Court for the Suppression of Economic Crimes and Terrorism (CRIET) which referred him to the Criminal Chamber of the said Court, pending the examination of the merits of the application initiating proceedings. In its order of April 2nd, 2020, the Court notes that there is no reason to comply with this request.

Order of 02-04-2020.pdf

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 22nd 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. 

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 having lodged an appeal in cassation before the Beninese Supreme Court, the matter being still pending. 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.