Yaya Kone vs Republic of Mali

On January 7th, 2021, Mr. Yaya Kone, Applicant, filed before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) an application instituting proceedings against the Republic of Mali for alleged violations of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) in its articles 3 and 7.

M. Kone, acting on behalf of his employer, SOMILO SA, had filed a complaint before the Malian authorities alleging that a roll of electrical cables from SOMILO SA had been stolen by an unknown person. The complainant stated that said roll of cables was found in the warehouse of Mr. Aliou Diallo, a contractor of EMBC, a service provider of SOMILO SA. 

The investigation was conducted and 4 suspects were brought to justice. On November 19th, 2013, one of the suspects was found guilty of the robbery and acquitted the other co-accused including Mr. Aliou Diallo. The latter filed a complaint before the Criminal Court of Kenieba against Mr. Kone for slander. On July 22nd, 2014, the Tribunal sentenced the Applicant to a 6 month prison and XAF 175 million in damages. The judgment specified that the payment of this sum was to be assumed by SOMILO SA. The company and the Applicant appealed this judgment before the Kayes Court of appeal. In a decision dated March 16th, 2015, the appellate court partially reversed the 2014 judgment in its civil provisions and sentenced Mr. Abdaramane Traore to pay 579 million to SOMILO SA in damages. The parties appealed this judgment before the Supreme Court which finally confirms the Court of appeal’s decision.

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.

  • With regards to the alleged violation to the equal access and protection before the law enshrined in Article 3 of the Charter: the Applicant contends that the whole procedure before the national courts was one-sided and that his criminal prosecution was not justified that the initial complaint had been lodged in the name and on behalf of SOMILO SA. Restating its settled case-law, the African Court notes that “it is incumbent upon the Party claiming to have been the victim of discriminatory treatment to provide evidence of this”: In the present case, the Applicant had not highlighted the circumstances in which it was subjected to unjustified differential treatment compared with other person in a similar situation. The plea is therefore rejected;
  • With regards to the alleged violation of the right to a fair trial enshrined in article 7 of the Charter: the Applicant affirms that he should not have been sued since the elements of the offence were not constituted and that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had stated that it spared the Applicant this manifestly abusive prosecution. The African Court notes that the Applicant had not adduced any evidence that the courts were biased which led to his conviction. The Applicant’s allegations that he did not receive a fair trial and that his conviction was not based on appropriate evidence and therefore unfounded. The plea is therefore rejected. 

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.