In its judgment No. 013/2017 of 23 February 2017, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA) declined jurisdiction to rule on civil liability and compensation for damages suffered. That position emerges from the matter between M. A. Ayamenou (the plaintiff) and Colina Insurance Company, M. E. Fouchard, manager of Toganim and Toganim Sarl (defendants).

Following an accident that occurred during a guided tour of a group of Nigerian students at the Toganim Crocodile Park, Mr. Ayamenou was attacked by a crocodile and had his right arm amputated.

In order to discharge its liability for damages, the aforesaid company referred the matter to its insurer, Colina Togo Company, which undertook the process of taking care of the victim, but retracted itself on the grounds that the site on which the accident had occurred was different from the one insured with it.

Mr. Ayamenou then sued the defendants for compensation for the damage suffered before the Lomé Court of First Instance. By way of judgment, the Court of First Instance had declared Toganim liable for damaging consequences of the accident and acquitted Mr. E. Fouchard and the insurance company. On appeal from Toganim, the Lomé Court of Appeal rendered Judgment No. 122/14 of 9 April 2014 in which the amounts allocated to the victim were revised.

Aggrieved by the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Ayamenou appealed to CCJA to have that judgment quashed. In their response, the defendants raised the issue of jurisdiction of the Court on the basis that the CCJA had jurisdiction only in respect of disputes concerning the interpretation of the Ohada Uniform Acts and not of a question relating to civil Liability.

CCJA stated that the matter before it concerns civil liability and compensation for damages suffered by a victim of an accident by virtue of an insurance contract binding the protagonists which do not fall under the Uniform Acts. CCJA therefore declined jurisdiction.

To read the judgment and understand the reasons of the Court, click here Available in French only. Should you need its translation, please write