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COMMUNITY COURT RULES AMENDMENT TO BURKINA FASO’S ELECTORAL CODE A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS


The Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS on Monday, 13th July 2015 ruled that Burkina Faso’s Amended Electoral Code of 7th April 2015 which barred some political parties and individuals from participating in the country’s political process is a ‘violation of the right to freely participate in elections.’


The Amendment was promulgated by the government following the departure of the erstwhile President Blaise Compaore in the wake of the violent protests of 30th and 31st October 2014 in the country.
The plaintiffs in suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/1915 had argued that they were deemed to be supporters of the departed President and targeted for exclusion through the amendment.


Delivering judgement in a case brought by seven of the country’s political parties and thirteen  individuals, the Court agreed with the plaintiffs that Law No.005-2015/CNT amending the country’s Electoral code passed by the National Assembly in 2001 was a violation of their human rights as enshrined in international instruments to which the country is a signatory.


These include the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993, the region’s Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and related UN instruments.


Consequently, the Court ordered that the state of Burkina Faso should remove all obstacles to participation in elections arising from the amendment with all the costs to be borne by the state of Burkina Faso.
The political parties, including the former ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP)  and the affected individuals led by their Counsel, Mr Moussa Coulibaly had approached the court asking for an order that the amendment be expunged because it violated their constitutional and human rights.


The government however through its lawyers, Mr Mamadou Savadogo and Mr Guy Herve Kam , argued  among other things, that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case and that it should not have been entertained.


However, in the judgement read by Justice Aloune Sall, the Court dismissed the argument by the government of Burkina Faso  that no violation had taken place citing the case of Hisssein Habre against the government of Senegal where the Court held that there must be proof of violation.


The Court also ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the case on the ground that it has responsibility to protect the human rights of the plaintiffs based on the international instruments to which the country is signatory.
Also on the panel were Honorable Justices Yaya Boiro and Hameye Foune Mahalmadane.


For further information, visit the Community Court of Justice, ECOWAS website at www.courtecowas.org or contact the Information Officers using the contact details below:

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Ugoh Sunny, Head of Division
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Felicien Hounkanrin (Information Officer)
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Elohor Ovadje (Information Officer)              
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