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Sebastien Aikoue Ajavon vs Republic of Benin

On November 29th, 2019, Mr. Sebastien Aikoue Ajavon, the applicant, filed an application instituting proceedings before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the ACHPR or the Court) against the Republic of Benin for  alleged violations of the African Charter on Humans and Peoples’ Rights  (the Charter) in its articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 13 and 14.

Mr. Ajavon, asserts that in a case opposing him to the respondent State, the Court of Céans rendered, for his benefit, an Order for provisional measures on December 7th, 2018, a judgment on the merits of March 29th, 2019 and a judgment on reparations of November 28th, 2019. He points out that Benin has not complied with these legal decisions and this in turn has resulted  in several human rights violations to his detriment.

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 March 29th, 2021, 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. It then proceeded to check its jurisdiction to rule on this dispute and concluded that it could indeed render a judgment. It then examined the objection of inadmissibility of the complaint raised by Benin.

On the alleged violation of Article 30 of the Protocol, the applicant claims that the Beninese State did not comply with the provisional order measures of December 07th, 2018 and the judgment of March 29th, 2019, which would constitute a violation of his right to non-discrimination, his right to equal, protection of the law, his right to a fair trial, his right to participate freely in the conduct of the public affairs of his country and his right to access the public service of his country. Benin replied that the Applicant had not demonstrated how he was prevented from voting, being elected and from taking up public office. As far as the Beninese government was concerned, Mr. Ajavon chose not to return to his country and to involve the international courts. In its view, there is no violation of section 13(1) and (2) of the Charter in this case. The Court notes that the respondent State has not filed any response, does not contest, nor does it deny that it did not enforce the decisions concerned, which is a violation of Article 30 of the Protocol.

On the alleged violation of the obligation to adopt a constitutional revision on the basis of a national consensus, the Court notes that it ruled on the issue in another instance between the same parties in a judgment of December 4th, 2020, the plea is therefore moot.

On the alleged violation of Article 1 of the Charter, the Court considers that the violation of Article 30 of the Protocol entails a violation of Article 1 of the Charter and awards 1 symbolic franc in compensation for the moral damage suffered. Benin has the obligation to comply with the judgment of March 29th. 2019.

Judgment of 29-03-2021.pdf

Ce résumé des faits de l’espèce et de la procédure est uniquement proposé à des fins d’information, n’engage en rien Dome et ne saurait remplacer la lecture attentive des jugements et ordonnances de l’affaire.

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