Nairobi, 15 June – The African Union Commission and its Chairman, Moussa Faki, have been embroiled in a lawsuit over the irregular suspension of members of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).
The Counsel representing the AU Commission and Mr. Faki failed to appear in a Nairobi court for the second time, prompting the court to direct them to file a response within 14 days.
Failure to do so will be deemed as a lack of intention to respond. ECOSOCC serves as an advisory body composed of various social and professional groups from the AU member states, aiming to enable African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to contribute actively to the AU’s principles, policies, and programs.
During the court proceedings at the Human Rights and Constitutional Division of the High Court on May 23, 2023, it was confirmed that the AU, ECOSOCC, and the AU Chair had been served court documents from Kenya.
The legal action against the continental body and its leadership stems from alleged disregard for disciplinary rules regarding the suspended members and other illegalities. The respondents, despite being properly served via email and courier failed to attend court.
Lawyer Atieno Ogolla, representing the defendants, stated that the respondents violated the human rights of the suspended individuals, which led to court proceedings.
The court is set to review whether Mr. Faki and the AU Commission have complied with the court directives on July 19, 2023.
In a press release last year, the AU said that the suspensions were carried out by due process, providing the subjects of investigation with the opportunity to present their side of the allegations against them.
The following individuals were suspended based on the AU Investigation Report of 010, which found misconduct and infringement of AU legal norms:
Abozer Elligai Elmana (Sudanese)
Abdurrahman Mokhtar (Libyan)
RollStephane Ngomat (Gabonese)
El Hacene Abdallah Bah Mbareck (Mauritanian)
Tunji Asaolu (Nigerian)
John Oba (Nigerian)
Shem Ochuodho (Kenyan)
The alleged misconducts specified by the AU against the individuals include abuse of authority, unlawful signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), the illegal convening of the General Assembly, misuse of ECOSOCC letterheads and logos, illegal appointments, and improper behavior.
As the court proceedings continue, the case raises concerns about the application of disciplinary procedures within the AU and the importance of upholding human rights and due process.
The outcome of this lawsuit will be closely watched, as it has implications for the functioning and credibility of the African Union Commission and its leadership.
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