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AfCHPR dismisses Ghanaian case against his country

THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) has dismissed the case filed by a Ghanaian businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome against his country.

In its judgment delivered last Friday, the Arusha based Court maintained that Ghana had not violated Mr Woyome’s right to non-discrimination, right to equality before the law and equal protection before the law as well as his right to be heard by an impartial tribunal as he had earlier claimed in his application.

In his application number 001/2017 on merits and reparations at the AfCHPR, the Ghanaian businessman alleged that, through the judgment of the Review Bench of its Supreme Court, the Respondent State violated his rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Charter specifically; the right to non-discrimination (Article 2); right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law (Article 3); and right to have one’s cause heard (Article 7).

Mr Woyome also submitted that such violations ought to be rectified pursuant to Article 27(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol).

The judgment of the Review Bench of the Supreme Court of the Respondent State concerned payments in relation to the rehabilitation and construction of stadia to host the 2008 Edition of the Africa Cup on Nations.

Having found that it had jurisdiction and that the Application was admissible, the Arusha based Court examined the violations alleged by Mr Woyome.

On whether there was a violation of the right to non-discrimination and the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law, the Court, through Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila, the Court held that the Ghanaian businessman had not demonstrated or substantiated how he had been discriminated and treated differently or unequally, seen resulting in discrimination or unequal treatment based on the criteria laid out under Articles 2 and 3 of the Charter. “The Court found that the Respondent State has not violated these provisions,” ruled Justice Chizumila.

On Mr Woyome’s alleged violation of the right to be heard by a competent tribunal and the alleged violation of the right to be tried by an impartial tribunal, the AfCHPR that the key issue was whether the Ghanaian’s right to be heard by a competent tribunal was violated as a result of the decision of the Review Bench of the Supreme Court hearing the matter rather than referring it to the High Court.

Considering the margin of discretion domestic courts enjoy in interpreting their own jurisdiction, the African Court held that there was nothing erroneous or arbitrary in the Supreme Court Review Bench’s interpretation of its own jurisdiction, to question its competence.

Following the court’s dismissal, Mr Woyome made several prayers for reparations.

On its part, the Arusha based court held that since no violation had been established; the issue of reparation does not arise, consequently dismissing the applicant’s prayers for reparation.

On costs, the Court unanimously decided that each Party shall bear its own costs.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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