Mohammed Selemani Marwa vs United Republic of Tanzania

On March 3rd, 2016, Mr. Mohammed Selemani Marwa, Applicant, filed an application instituting proceedings before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) against the United Republic of Tanzania for alleged violations of the African Charter of the Human and Peoples’ Rights in its articles 1, 2, 3, 5,7, 19 and 26.

In this case, Mr. Marwa, a Tanzanian citizen, was serving at the time of the filing of the application a 30 year term sentence after being found guilty of armed robbery by the District Court of Nyamagana. The  Applicant lodged an appeal before the Mwanza High Court and the Court of Appeal of Tanzania successively, both of which confirmed the undertaken judgment. On November 9th, 2012, Mr. Marwa filed a request for review for the Court of Appeal. On September 18th, 2014, the Court of appeal rejected this request. 

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.

The Applicant affirms that the national courts of the defendant State found him guilty based on elements that did not meet the standards required by law, that is beyond all reasonable doubt (art. 3 of the Charter). The Court recalled its settled case-law according to which the national courts have an important margin of interpretation regarding the evidence submitted. It however noted that there was nothing in the record provided to suggest that national courts had violated internationally accepted standards of evidence. It therefore rejected that plea.

As the Applicant did not provide any evidence for the alleged violations of articles  2, 3, 5, 7, 19 and 26 of the Charter, the Court dismissed these allegations. 

Judgment of 02-12-2021

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.