The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has unanimously dismissed a case filed by a beleaguered businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, against the state.
The court said Woyome’s right to non-discrimination, right to equality before the law, equal protection before the law and his right to be heard by an impartial tribunal had all not been violated.
Right to be heard by an impartial tribunal
Woyome had argued, this right was violated because a Supreme Court judge Justice Dotse had made some personal remarks against him when he brought the controversial judgment debt saga to the Supreme court for constitutional interpretation.
Justice Dotse made a personal opinion on a non-constitutional matter when he stated Mr. Woyome had “entered into an alliance to create, loot and share the resources of this country as if a brigade had been set up for such an enterprise.”
That comment in July 2014 went viral.
Woyome alleged at the African court in May 2018, this comment denied him the right to be heard by an impartial tribunal as he lost the constitutional case at the Supreme Court.
He pointed to the guarantees of this right as stated under Article 7 of the African Charter, a document which forms the basis of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Right.
But the African Court ruling on this matter said Justice Dotse although he wrote the lead judgment on the constitutional matter, he was only one of the 11 judges.
“The court is of the opinion that a single judge’s remarks cannot be considered sufficient to taint the entire bench. Furthermore, the applicant has not illustrated how the judge’s remarks at the ordinary bench later influenced the decision of the review bench”
Right to non-discrimination, right to equality before the law, equal protection of the law
The Arusha-based court also found that “the applicant has not demonstrated or substantiated how he has been discriminated against or treated differently” under Article 2 and 3 of the Charter.
The judge, also said it could not heed to the applicant’s request for reparations because no violation had been established. “The issue of reparation does not arise,” she said.
”Consequently, the applicant’s prayer for reparation is dismissed”, the court said and also decided not to award cost to any party.
The Republic of Ghana signed to the African Charter on Human & People’s Rights on 1 March 1989, and to the protocol to the African Charter on Human & People’s Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human & People’s Right on 16 August 2005.
It deposited on 6 March 2011, a declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol, accepting the jurisdiction of the court to receive cases from individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations.
WATCH READING OF THE COURT’S FINAL JUDGEMENT: