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Western Sahara : African court gives Benin, Ghana, 6 others 60 days to defend Falana’s suit

LAGOS—THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha Tanzania has given Benin, Ghana, and six others 60 days to respond to the suit filed by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN.

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In the letter with reference number AfCHPR/Reg./APPL./028/2018/004 and signed by the court registrar Dr Robert Eno, the court stated: “Take notice that the attached application was filed against the Respondents at this Registry on the 31st day of October 2018. In conformity with the Rule 35(4) of the Rules of the Court, the Respondents are hereby requested to submit names and addresses of their representatives within 30 days of the receipt of this notification.”

“The Respondents are further requested to submit pursuant to Rule 37 the Response to the Application within 60 days of receipt of same.”                         Falana, in 2018, dragged eight African Union member states to the court over “the failure of the countries to discharge their legal duty to defend the sovereignty, territorial, integrity and independence of Western Sahara.”

The case brought on behalf of Bernard Anbataayela Mornah, a Ghanaian citizen and the National Chairman of the Convention of People’s Party, a political party in Ghana against Burkina Faso; Cote D’ivore; Ghana; Mali; Malawi; and Tanzania relates “to the legal duty on the defendants to defend the sovereignty, territorial, integrity and independence of Western Sahara.”

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The suit with application number 028/2018, read in part: “The territory known as Western Sahara in North Africa was forcefully and illegally colonized by Spain for several years until it pulled out and relinquished its claim as a colonial power over the territory in February 1976 as a result of the violent resistance of the Saharawi people.”

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