Burkina's amendment of Electoral Code violates human rights – ECOWAS

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice has ruled that Burkina Faso’s Amended Electoral Code is a “violation of the right to freely participate in elections.”
The Amended Electoral Code of April 7, 2015, promulgated by the government following the departure of President Blaise Compaore in the wake of the violent protest of October 30 and October 31, 2014, barred some political parties and individuals from participating in the political process of the country.
A statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission on Wednesday and made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said the Court made the ruling on Monday, July 13.
According to the statement, the plaintiffs 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 13 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.
Removal of obstacles
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 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 that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case and that it should not have been entertained.
However, in the judgement read by Justice Alioune Sall, the Court dismissed the argument by the government of Burkina Faso that no violation had taken place citing the case of Hissein 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.
On the panel were Justices Yaya Boiro and Hameye Foune Mahalmadane.
Credit: GNA

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