Cape Verde’s court cannot review UN Human Rights Committee’s directive on Alex Saab – Femi Falana

Alex Saab

Femi Falana, a lawyer for Venezuelan businessman and diplomat , Alex Saab says Cape Verde cannot review the directives of the UN Human Rights Committee to halt extradition processes on the businessman.

He made the comment in reaction to statements by the president of Cape Verde, Jorge Fonseca that the country’s courts will look into the directives and decide on the way forward.

The president of Cape Verde’s also said he has no influence in the extradition or otherwise of the businessman.

According to Mr. Falana, President Jorge Fonseca’s claim is not right.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee last week directed Cape Verde to suspend activities towards the extradition of Mr. Saab to the US to face money laundering charges.

The Committee gave Cape Verde the opportunity to respond to the issues to enable it take a final decision.

The President of Cape Verde, Jorge Fonseca during a press interaction in Praia earlier this week said he has no influence in the case and cannot decide whether Cape Verde will comply with the decision or not.

He said the decision can only be taken by Cape Verde’s court.

“In a system like ours, only a judge can arrest or release because only a judge has the jurisdictional power to remove or restore freedom. There may be countries where this is possible. But not in Cape Verde… I have no interest in that. I may have an opinion, but it’s not worth anything. The opinion that counts is the opinion of the Constitutional Court…Whatever the TC decides, is decided, and is complied with,” the president said.

But Femi Falana in response to the comment said the UN Human Rights Committee’s directive must be complied with and the president has the power to ensure that.

“This is grossly misleading as President Fonseca is not unaware that the decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee are not subject to the review of  domestic courts of Cape Verde,” he said.

He added that, “When the ECOWAS Court ordered the immediate release of H.E. Alex Saab from illegal custody and termination of the extradition proceedings pending in Cape Verdean courts, President Fonseca said that Cape Verde was not bound by the decisions of the Regional Court. When the Supreme Court of Justice of Cape Verde ruled that the immunity of H.E. Alex Saab was a political decision the Government ignored the ruling,” he added.

Although it’s been a week since the directive, Cape Verde is yet to comply with it.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Committee says it has written again to Cape Verde to remind it of the directive hoping that it will comply with it especially on the issue of ensuring that Mr. Saab is allowed to get proper medical care.


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