June 15, 2015
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is deeply concerned by the total dissolution of the judiciary of Equatorial Guinea and calls on the country to meet its international obligations to protect the independence of the judiciary and respect the rule of law.
On 20 May 2015, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo issued Decree 36/2015, which summarily dissolved the entire judiciary ‘in the interest of providing a better service and in accordance with the presidential power under Art.41 (h) of the Fundamental Law’.
IBAHRI Co-Chair Baroness Helena Kennedy commented: ‘We are deeply concerned at the chilling effect President Obiang’s actions will have on the independence of judiciary and on the ability of Equatorial Guineans to enjoy the rights to which they are constitutionally entitled. While improving the administration of justice in any country may be a legitimate aim, the dissolution of the entire judiciary is clearly a disproportionate response and represents an existential threat to the independence of the legal profession and the separation of powers, which are cornerstones of every democratic state.’