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PERSON WHO ASSERTS HAS ONUS TO PROVE – (ECOWAS Court)

Dictum

In FEMI FALANA & ANOR V REPUBLIC OF BENIN & 2 ORS (2012) ECW/CCJ/JUD/02/12 PG. 34, the court held that: “As always, the onus of proof is on a party who asserts a fact and who will fail if that fact fails to attain that standard of proof that will persuade the court to believe the statement of the claim”. Vide SIKIRU ALADE VS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2012) ECW/CCJ/JUD/10/12. PARA 48.

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A PLAINTIFF WHO CANNOT DISCHARGE BURDEN OF PROOF MUST LOSE

Para. 28: “This rule, that proof rests on he who asserts the affirmative and not on he who denies, “is an ancient rule founded on consideration of common sense and should not be departed from without strong reasons”, according to Lord Maugham in the case of Constantine Line v. Imperial Smelting Corporation (1942) A.C. 154 at p. 174. In assuming the burden of proof, it means that if at the end of the day the plaintiff has not produced evidence to discharge the burden on him he must lose the decision on the particular issue. However, being a civil matter the burden that the plaintiff assumes is one of a proof by preponderance of probability or sometimes called reasonable probability.”

— Saidykhan v GAMBIA (2010) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/08/10

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FACTS ADMITTED NEEDS NO FURTHER PROOF

U.D.F.U. v. Kraus (2001) 24 WRN 78 @ p. 91, where it was held firmly inter alia thus: “The law is unequivocal that a fact admitted by the Defendant in his pleading must be taken by a Court of law as established and should therefore be treated as one of the agreed facts between the parties to the suit. Indeed, these facts are directly admitted as in the instant case or deemed admitted as provided for in the Rules of Court dealing with pleadings, such averments do not need to be processed in Court … The judgement of the Court delivered on 17|2|97 based on the admission cannot be faulted.”

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ACTIO POPULARIS – HE WHO CHALLENGES MUST PROOF

Para. 25: “Therefore, where a party asserts a fact, he must produce evidence to substantiate the claim. It is not sufficient simply to challenge a law or State policy or practice in the abstract (actio popularis) without demonstrating how the alleged victim is individually affected. The complaint must be sufficiently substantiated. See Aumeeruddy-Cziffra and Others v. Mauritius (Communication No. R.9/35) 9 April 1981 decided in the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.”

— Osaghae v Nigeria (2017) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/17

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HE WHO ALLEGES MUST PROVE

✓ Para. 25: In Petrostar (Nigeria) Limited V. Blackberry Nigeria Limited & 1 or (2011) CCJELR, the Court in its consideration reiterated the cardinal principle of law that “he who alleges must prove”.

✓ Para. 27: In Front for Liberation of the State Of Cabinda V. Republic Of Angola 5th November 2013, ACHPR, 328/06, 54TH Ordinary Session, where the Plaintiffs brought the application on behalf of the People of Cabinda on alleged violations of Articles 19, 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the African Charter, by infringing on their rights to natural resources, authorizing exploitation activities that did not favor the development of the people of Cabinda and allowing companies to operate in manners that are harmful to the environment and human health. The Commission held that the complainant failed to adduce evidence to support that the people of Cabinda were treated unequally in comparison to other people in Angola in violation of Article 19 of the Charter.

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HE WHO ALLEGES MUST PROVE

Para. 61: “It is trite law that he who alleges bears the burden of making out a prima facie case in support of his averments, the court in its consideration reiterated the cardinal principle of law that “he who alleges must prove”. Therefore, where a party asserts 26 a fact, he must produce evidence to substantiate the claim. The Applicant has not been able to establish that he was treated differently from other members in similar situation with him. In the absence of evidence to support a different treatment in similar situations, the Applicant’s claim of violation of equality before the law and freedom from discrimination is hereby dismissed.”

— Boley v Liberia & Ors. (2019) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/24/19

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BURDEN OF PROOF ALWAYS ON THE PROSECUTION; BURDEN FOR INSANITY ON THE ACCUSED

The law is trite, that in all criminal cases in common law countries like Nigeria which operates from time immemorial, common law jurisprudence, the burden of proof is always on the prosecution. This notion is entrenched in Section 135 of the Evidence Act which further put the standard of such proof to be beyond reasonable...

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