ECOWAS Court Takes Decision on Mali Versus Société Damou-So SARL Case

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, on Tuesday October 31, 2023, delivered its decision in the case between the State of Mali and Société Damou-So SARL in which the applicant requested a review of Judgment No. ECW/ CCJ/JUD/22/21 rendered on June 25, 2021 by the Court in case no. ECW/CCJ/APP/10/18.

The applicant, Republic of Mali mentioned that Société Damou-So SARL, a real estate development company registered in Mali, acquired plots of land from the government of Mali, but irregularities were discovered in the records of these land transactions. In 2015, the National Directorate of Lands and Cadastre canceled these transactions, including those of Damou-So SARL.
The applicant explained that Hamady Kindy, manager of several companies, including Damou-So SARL, contested the revocations by bringing the case before the Supreme Court of Mali. In October 2015, the Supreme Court annulled the revocations made by the National Directorate of Lands and Cadastre, thus restoring the property rights of Damou-So SARL.
Nevertheless, a case was brought by Damou-So SARL before the ECOWAS Court and in the judgment:
It declared that the applicant’s property rights had been violated by the respondent.
It dismissed other allegations of violation of the applicant’s rights.
It ordered the respondent to pay compensation to the applicant for seven expropriated lands.
Also, it ordered the respondent to submit a report on the measures taken to implement the Court’s orders.
The applicant now (Republic of Mali) sought a review of the decision of the ECOWAS Court citing two new facts discovered after the Court’s decision.
In its response, the defendant, La Société Damou-So SARL, explained that although it held copies of the land titles, they were no longer useful because the land to which these titles relate are no longer in its possession. According to Société Damou-So SARL, a bailiff noted in January 2017 that the plots had been divided and inhabited by occupants and construction sites. Despite warnings from local authorities, the new occupants continue to occupy these plots.
The defendant indicated that another bailiff noted in January 2018 the presence of houses under construction, completed houses, construction materials, and bricks on its land. It claimed that the local mayor justified these divisions, based on decisions to cancel administrative acts of transfer.
According to the defendant, it is evident that its land has been expropriated, which, in its view, prevented the applicant from requesting and obtaining a review of the decision under Article 25(2) of the July 1991 Protocol relating to the Court.
By its decision of October 31, 2023, the Court retained its jurisdiction to hear the request for review explaining that the contested decision – judgment no. ECW/CCJ/JUD/22/21 of June 25, 2021 – was rendered by the Court at its seat, and it is the only one authorised to rule on the request for review.
However, it declared the applicant inadmissible in its request for review of judgment no. ECW/CCJ/JUD/22/21 of June 25, 2021. It explained that the facts invoked by the applicant did not exist at the time of the pronouncement of the contested judgment and that it cannot therefore validly serve as a basis for an appeal for review.
The Court emphasised that both facts relied on by the applicant to support its request for review of judgment no. ECW/CCJ/JUD/22/21 of June 25, 2021 do not meet the criteria set by Article 25 of Protocol A /P1/07/91 relating to the Court which provides that “The request for review of a decision is only opened before the Court when it is based on the discovery of a fact likely to exercise a decisive influence and which, at the time of the decision, was unknown to the Court and the applicant, provided, however, that such ignorance is not the result of negligence. »
It added that in the absence of such a fact in the present case, the request for review filed by the applicant in violation of the relevant provisions of article 25 of Protocol A/P.1/07/91 of 6 July 1991 must be declared inadmissible.
The panel of three (3) judges on the bench is composed of:
Hon. Judge Gbéri-Bè Ouattara, Presiding / Judge-Rapporteur
Hon. Judge Dupe Atoki, Member
Hon. Judge Claúdio Monteiro Gonçalves, Member

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Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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