AGENCIES | Arusha/Yamoussoukro – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on Wednesday Apri 22, ordered Côte d’Ivoire to suspend its arrest warrant for Guillaume Soro and to release 19 of his relatives who have been imprisoned for four months.
The African Union institution based in Arusha, Tanzania, which had been seized in early March by Mr. Soro, former speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly, and his relatives, “orders the defendant state (Côte d’Ivoire) to suspend the execution of the arrest warrant against Guillaume Soro”, in a ruling published on Wednesday.
A declared candidate in the Ivorian presidential election scheduled for October, Guillaume Soro has been the subject of an arrest warrant since late December 2019 by the Ivorian judiciary for an alleged “insurrection” attempt and embezzlement of public funds, all charges denied by the former leader of the rebellion of the 2000s.
The court also ordered the “stay of execution of the committal orders” against 19 of Mr. Soro’s relatives accused of varying degrees of complicity, currently detained in Côte d’Ivoire, and their “provisional release”.
Soro’s co-defendants include five deputies and former ministers, member of his party, as well as two of his brothers.
To justify its “unanimous” decision, the ACHPR considers that the arrest warrant and the committal orders are likely to “seriously compromise the exercise of the political rights and freedoms of the applicants”.
The court also invokes the risk of “irreparable damage” for the applicants and the “presumption of innocence” in their favor.
About African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The Court was established by virtue of Article 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) which was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004.