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[Press Release] TOGO: Two years after the elections, victims are still waiting for justice

April 2007

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Depuis deux ans, les victimes des très graves atteintes aux droits humains commises dans le cadre de l’élection présidentielle au Togo attendent toujours que justice leur soit rendue


TOGO: Two years after the elections,

victims are still waiting for justice

For two years, victims who suffered serious human rights violations during the presidential elections in Togo have been waiting for justice. The ensuing violence during the elections resulted in the deaths of several hundred people and the displacement of thousands in neighbouring countries.

This election, which was fraught with irregularities and violence, saw the victory of Faure Gnassingbé, the son of the defunct president in April 2005. Following international pressure, Togolese authorities created a special national independent enquiry commission (Koffigoh Commission) in May 2005, whose mandate was to determine the circumstances surrounding these violent acts, evaluate the damages and to undertake legal proceedings against the perpetrators.

During the same time the enquiry’s conclusions were released, the Koffigoh Commission gave the Head of State a list of names of perpetrators and “silent partners” provided by the victims. Also, more than one hundred victims, the majority supported by the Collective of Association Against Impunity in Togo (CAAIT), decided to come forward with their complaints despite the risks that such a step could involve.

This search for justice was openly expressed by all victims who suffered from violent acts in 2005, including victims from the main political party, the Gathering of the Togolese People (GTP). Following his visit to Togo from 10 – 17 April 2007, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, noted that none of the supposed guilty persons have been brought to justice.

Several benchmarks have been announced. In August 2006, within the framework of the political agreement designed to pull Togo out of political crisis, the main political parties recognised the importance of ending impunity by creating an enquiry commission on political violence since 1958. A new law governing armed forces was adopted in February 2007 and a programme of legal reforms was undertaken.

The Togolese authorities must now have the willpower to take concrete actions in order to render justice to victims. Since there are legislative elections predicted for June 2007, it is urgent to send a strong message to the whole population that these acts of violence will no longer occur with impunity and that the perpetrators of violence must answer for their actions before justice.

The signatory associations for this press release call on the Togolese authorities to:

  • Make the fight against impunity a national priority while proceeding with the beginning of independent and impartial judicial enquiries on the violence in 2005;
  • Install a mechanism for independent investigation which is effective against perpetrators of torture, in accordance with the recommendation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture following his visit to Togo;
  • Give justice to victims who have been waiting for reparations for two years, not including the installation of the “Commission in charge of shedding light on political acts of violence committed between 1958 until today and study the methods of appeasing the victims” whose creation was decided by the political agreement of August 2006;
  • Observe strict respect for human rights and the rule of law in light of the upcoming legislative elections, predicted for June 2007, notably in regard to the rights to life, to liberty and freedom of association and manifestation;
  • Take the necessary and appropriate measures for an effective implementation of the recommendations introduced by the United Nations fact-finding mission in August 2005 and by the Committee Against Torture in its concluding observations in 2006;
  • Take action to ensure that grave human rights violations are not repeated before, during or after the predicted legislative elections;


The last four decades have amply demonstrated that as long as there is no end to impunity, Togo will not find a long-lasting political solution or durable peace.

Signatory Associations

• Action des chrétiens pour l'abolition de la torture (ACAT-France)
• Amnesty International
• Comité Catholique contre la faim et pour le développement (CCFD)
• Franciscans International
• World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
• Secours catholique – Caritas France
• Survie


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