ECOWAS Judge and the Burkinabe Democratic Revolution

By Jean-François AKANDJI-KOMBÉ, Professor at the Sorbonne Law School, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, President of IpaP – Pan-African Institute of Action and Prospective

I- Decision and issues

The decision, as all Africa now knows, is that of 13 July 2015. The judge is the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Finally, the defendant is the State of Burkina Faso.

The context is also well known: at the end of October 2014, President Blaise Compaoré was ousted from power by a popular movement after having, and for having tried to amend the Constitution to maintain it. A transition is being put in place to prepare for the return to democratic institutions. In preparation for the upcoming elections, the Transitional National Council has undertaken to revise the electoral code. A new case of ineligibility is then inserted, concerning “all persons who have supported an unconstitutional change that undermines the principle of democratic alternation, in particular the principle of limiting the number of presidential mandates that led to an insurrection or any other form of uprising” (article 135 of the Electoral Code).

This is the bone of contention, the subject of the dispute, which is being carried by the parties of the former presidential majority and, individually, by a few relatives of the deposed President, who are complaining of the violation of their fundamental electoral rights.

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