71/92 : Rencontre africaine pour la défence des droits de l'Homme (RADDHO) / Zambia The Facts 1. The Complaint is presented by a Senegalese NGO, Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits th th de l’Homme, on behalf of 517 West Africans who were expelled from Zambia on 26 and 27 February 1992, on grounds of being in Zambia illegally. Prior to their expulsion, most of the individuals had been subject to administrative detention for more than 2 months. The deportees lost all the material possessions they had in Zambia, and many were also separated from their Zambian families. Procedure th 2. The communication was submitted on 28 February 1992. The Commission was seized of it at the th 12 Session. th 3. On 13 November 1992, the text of the communication was sent to the Zambian Ministry of Justice and ministry of External Affairs by registered post. No reply has been forthcoming. th 4. At the 16 Session, the communication was declared admissible and the parties were informed th that the merits of the case would be considered at the 17 Session. th 5. At the 18 Session in October 1995, a delegation of the Zambian government appeared and th presented additional information dated 29 September 1995. The Complainant also appeared and presented a reply to the government’s arguments. 6. The Commission decided to pursue an amicable resolution to the communication, which would involve further details being given to the Zambian government so that reparations might be effected. nd 7. On 2 August 1996, the Commission informed the Government of Zambia of its intention to continue the efforts towards an amicable resolution of the case. The Law Admissibility 8. The Zambian government argues that the communication must be declared inadmissible because domestic remedies have not been exhausted. 9. Article 56 of the African Charter provides as follows: “Communications shall be considered if they: are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious that these procedures are unduly prolonged...”. 10. The rule requiring the exhaustion of local remedies as a condition of the presentation of an international claim is founded upon, amongst other principles, the contention that the respondent state must first have an opportunity to redress by its own means within the framework of its own domestic legal system, the wrong alleged to have been done to the individual. 11. This does not mean, however, that complainants are required to exhaust any local remedy which is found to be, as a practical matter, unavailable or ineffective. 12. When the Zambian government argues that the communication must be declared inadmissible because the local remedies have not been exhausted, the government then has the burden of demonstrating the existence of such remedies. The government of Zambia attempts to do so by referring to the Immigration and Deportations Act which provides for appeal of expulsion orders. The government states that actions for loss of property likewise can be brought under Zambian law. 13. The question is therefore whether, in the circumstances alleged, the Immigration and Deportation Act constitutes an effective and adequate remedy in respect to the complaints. 14. The mass nature of the arrests, the fact that victims were kept in detention prior to their expulsions, and the speed with which the expulsions were carried out gave the Complainants no opportunity to establish the illegality of these actions in the courts. For Complainants to contact their families, much less attorneys, was not possible. Thus, the recourse referred to by the government under the Immigration and Deportation Act was as a practical matter not available to the Complainants. This was confirmed by the Complainants during their arguments before the Commission, as well as by expert testimony. (See “Réplique du RADDHO à la Réponse du th Gouvernement Zambien,” p. 3; also letter of Executive Director of Afronet Zambia, 7 October 1995.)

Select target paragraph3