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ECOWAS Court to Challenge Legality of Mali Sanctions Friday

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice will on Friday begin hearing of the suit instituted by two Malian groups challenging the legality of the August 18, 2020 sanctions imposed on Mali following the military coup against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

A statement by the media unit of the ECOWAS Court stated that the suit was instituted by the two groups on September 9, 2020, against the ECOWAS Commission and Ivory Coast, one of the countries implementing the sanctions via closure of borders against Mali.

The statement added that the plaintiffs, Malian Coalition and the Consumers Association of Mali, both registered in the country, had filed interlocutory applications that would be heard on Friday.

The plaintiffs prayed the court in the applications to issue orders suspending the sanctions which were announced by the ECOWAS Commission and for the accelerated hearing of the substantive suit challenging the sanctions.

In the suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/36/20, the two associations claimed that the President of the Commission acted ultra vires in imposing the sanctions, as the procedure was not in conformity with the relevant ECOWAS texts under which sanctions should be brought against member states for failure to honour their obligations to the Community as this is reserved for Heads of State and Government of the Community.

The plaintiffs, who are being represented by Mr Modibo Diakite, Mr Oumar Tounkara, Mr Abdrahamane Diallo. Mr Maxime Poma and the law firm of SCP d’Avocats Do-Fini Consult claimed that the sanctions, which were enforced by neighbours Ivory Coast and Niger with the closure of their borders, were negatively impacting on a population already “bruised by insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic as well as poor governance.”

The groups claimed that the sanctions constitute not only the violation of the right of the people of Mali to the freedom of movement guaranteed in ECOWAS texts but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the economic, social, and cultural rights of Malian citizens in the community as well as their right to non-discrimination.

Among the reliefs sought is an order for the payment of compensation for prejudices suffered in the sum of 1,000,000 CFA francs for each individual, another 10,000,000 CFA francs for each legal person as well as the payment of the same amount for the violation of human rights.

They also prayed the court to order Ivory Coast to pay a symbolic 1 CFA to the plaintiffs for the violation of their human rights through the discriminatory treatment of Malians.

The statement added, “A three-member panel of the court comprising Honorable Justices Dupe Atoki (presiding), Keikura Bangura and Januária Tavares Silva Moreira Costa will hear the case.

“The proceeding can be followed via “Zoom” using the ID: 849 4983 1562 with the passcode: 650799 on Friday, September 25, 2020 by 10am.”

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