ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2016.02.05

View Adopted: 2022.07.13

Jean Emmanuel Kandem Foumbi v. Cameroon

Equality before courts and arbitrary detention without appeal in a case of fraud

Substantive Issues
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Arbitrary interference with family
  • Effective remedy
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 10
  • Article 11
  • Article 12
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.3
  • Article 14.5
  • Article 17
  • Article 2 - OP1
  • Article 2.3 (a)
  • Article 3 - OP1
  • Article 5.2 (b) - OP1
  • Article 7
  • Article 9
Full Text


The author is a national of France who was born in Cameroon. He developed a platform for transferring money based on an integrated information technology system that linked local businesses. The State party signed a contract with the author that a concession would be provided once the platform had been launched. However, the parties failed to reach an agreement while negotiating the terms of the contract and decided to meet at a later date. While attempting to return to France, the author was arrested by the Cameroonian police, claiming that there was a complaint of fraud against him. His habeas corpus petitions and appeals were rejected, and he was released only after spending 23 months in prison. The author claims violations of articles 7 (cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment), 9 (right to liberty and security), 10 (deprivation of liberty and treatment with respect for human dignity), 11 (prohibition of imprisonment for contractual obligations), 12 (liberty of movement), 14 (equality before courts) and 17 (privacy) of the Covenant, read separately and in conjunction with article 2(3)(a) (effective remedy).


The State party submitted that the claim was an abuse of the right of submission as the author had filed an identical claim previously that was deemed inadmissible by the Committee. The Committee noted that it had considered the previous claim under articles 7, 10, 11 and 12 inadmissible due to lack of sufficient substantiation. It concluded that the claims under these articles in the present claim were inadmissible since the author failed to highlight how they differed from the previous communication. With regard to exhaustion of remedies, it noted that the State party failed to explain why no hearings took place in the appeal in a domestic court, which therefore remained pending, and further that the State party did not provide copies of any judgments passed by the domestic court. As a result, the Committee held that this was not an obstacle to admissibility. Still, the author’s claims under articles 9 and 14 were considered inadmissible as the author had not taken adequate seps in national courts regarding these violations. Lastly, it considered the claim under article 14(3) relating to undue delays in court sufficiently substantiated and admissible.


The Committee noted the author’s claim that his appeal to national courts was still pending, that no progress had been made in respect of the other complaints filed against him, and that the State party failed to produce a copy of relevant court judgments in order to prove its submission that the appeal proceedings had resulted in upholding the conviction and that the other complaint proceedings had been completed. Due to the fact that the appeal had been pending for more than 8 years and absence of explanations from the State party, the Committee concluded that there was a violation of article 14(3)(c) of the Covenant.


The State Party, in furtherance of its obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, is obligated, inter alia:

(a) To try the author as soon as possible;

(b) To compensate the author appropriately; and

(c) To prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.


Deadline: 13 January 2023

More information on the case:

237Online – Jean-Emmanual Foumbi, Chronicle of a Programmed Death

By: Smrithi Ramakrishnan

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