COURT CLARIFIES ASPECT OF ITS JUDGMENT FOLLOWING REQUEST BY 4 GUINEA CITIZENS

The ECOWAS Court has on 15 December 2023 clarified the operative part of Judgment no ECW/CCJ/JUD/07/19 in relation to monetary compensation awarded to four Guinean citizens following their application for interpretation of the judgment.

Hon Justice Edward Amoako Asante, Presiding and Judge Rapporteur who read the judgment, stated that only one order of compensation in the amount of 50 million CFA Francs was awarded, and that each of the four Applicants is entitled to 25% of this amount. 

However, the Applicants’ request for interpretation of the Court’s judgment in relation to the violation of freedom to form a political party, and freedom of association were declared inadmissible on the grounds that the Applicants were seeking a review of the reasoning of the Court rather than clarifications of ambiguities. Moreover, the Applicants also failed to demonstrate how section(s) of the judgment could hinder its implementation in its current form. 

Both parties were ordered to bear their costs. 

In the initiating application with suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/18/19/INT, filed on 30 April, 2019, the Applicants – Barry Abdoulaye Sadio, Tolno Layba, Barry Ibrahima and Diallo Thierno Ibrahim sought an interpretation of Judgment no ECW/CCJ/JUD/07/19 delivered on 26 February, 2019 in relation to the (i) violation of the freedom to form a political party; (ii) the violation of freedom of association; and (iii) the compensation for the damage suffered.

In addition, Mr Alpha Yaya Drame, lawyer representing the Applicants, asked the Court to provide clarity on the reasoning of the Court as well as the sharing formula for the lumpsum compensation awarded to all four Applicants.

On their part, the Respondent – State of Guinea represented by State Counsel Mr Joachim Gbilimou asked the Court to dismiss the Applicants request for interpretation of judgment on the basis that such application applied to a judgment that is genuinely ambiguous but that in the present case, they were criticising the reasoning of the Court and ultimately the judgment.

In its judgment, the Court declared it had jurisdiction to hear the case in line with provisions of Article 25 of the Protocol on the Court which states that ‘[i]f the meaning or scope of a decision or advisory opinion is in doubt, the Court shall construe it on application by any party or any Institution of the Community establishing an interest therein.’ 

On admissibility, the Court declared that the Applicants’ request for interpretation of judgment in relation to the violation of freedom to form a political party, and freedom of association are inadmissible.

But it admitted the third request in relation to compensation for damage suffered after noting that clarity of the compensation order could be enhanced since the previous case involved four separate applications which were consolidated in the course of the court proceedings. 

Consequently, the Court clarified the operative part of Judgment no ECW/CCJ/JUD/07/19 in relation to monetary compensation stating that only one order of compensation in the amount of 50 million CFA Francs was awarded and each applicant is entitled to 25% of it. 

Also on the panel were Hon Justices Gbéri-Bè Ouattara (Member) and Sengu M. Koroma (Member).