The facts as submitted by
1. The author of the communication is Angel N. Oló Bahamonde, a citizen of
Equatorial Guinea born in 1944 and a landowner, mining engineer and former
civil servant. Until the summer of 1991, he resided in Malabo, Equatorial
Guinea. In September 1991, he fled the country for Spain. He currently
resides in Luanco, Spain. The author claims to be a victim of violations by
Equatorial Guinea of articles 6, paragraph 1; 9; 12; 14; 16; 17; 19; 20,
paragraph 2; 25; 26; and 27, in conjunction with article 2 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
2.1 On 4 March 1986, the author's passport was confiscated at the airport of
Malabo; on 26 March 1986, the same thing occurred at the airport of
Libreville, Gabon, allegedly upon orders of President Obiang of Equatorial
Guinea. From 26 May to 17 June 1987, the author was detained by order of the
Governor of Bioko. Some of his lands were confiscated in October 1987. The
author complained to the authorities and directly to President Obiang, to no
avail. A little later, some 22.2 tons of cacao from his plantations were
confiscated by order of the Prime Minister, and his objections and recourse
of 28 February 1988 were simply ignored. Part of his agricultural crops
allegedly were destroyed by the military in 1990-1991. Once again, his
requests for compensation were not acted upon.
2.2 On 16 January 1991, the author was granted a personal audience with
President Obiang. In its course, the author outlined his grievances and
handed to Mr. Obiang a copy of the entire written record in the case,
including copies of the complaints addressed to the President. The damage
allegedly suffered included the expropriation of several of his farms by
virtue of decree No. 125/1990 of 13 November 1990, the destruction of maize
and soja crops worth more than 5 million CFA francs, and the exploitation of
timberland in the order of approximately 5 million CFA francs. Finally,
industrial development and oil exploration projects prepared by him for the
Government and valued at approximately 835 million CFA francs have been used
by the authorities without any payment to the author.
2.3 According to the author, there are no effective domestic remedies to
exhaust or even pursue, as President Obiang controls the State party's
judiciary at all levels of the administration.
3.1 The author complains that he and other individuals who do not share the
views or adhere to the ruling party of President Obiang or who do not at
least belong to his clan (the Mongomo clan) are subjected to varying degrees
of discrimination, intimidation and persecution. More particularly, the
author claims to have been a victim of systematic persecution by the Prime
Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Governor of Bioko (North) and the
Minister of External Relations, all of whom, through their respective
services, have pronounced threats against him, primarily on account of his
outspoken views on the regime in place. He further contends that the
ambassadors of Equatorial Guinea in Spain, France and Gabon have been
instructed to "make his life difficult" whenever he travels abroad.
3.2 The author asserts that his arrest in May-June 1987 was arbitrary, and
that no indictment was served on him throughout the period of his detention.
During this period, he was not brought before a judge or judicial officer.
3.3 It is further submitted that the author has been prevented from
travelling freely within his own country and from leaving it at his own free
The State party's information and observations and the author's comments
4.1 The State party notes that the author has failed to exhaust available
domestic remedies, since he did not file any action before the local civil
or administrative courts. It adds, in general terms, that there is no basis
for the author's assertion that the judicial organs in Equatorial Guinea are
manipulated by the Government and by President Obiang.
4.2 The State party submits that the author could invoke, before the
domestic tribunals, the following laws and/or regulations, which the courts
are bound to apply:
(a) The Basic Law of Equatorial Guinea of 15 August 1982;
(b) Law No.10/1984 on the organization of the judiciary;
(c) Decree No. 28/1980 of 11 November 1980, governing the procedure before
administrative judicial instances;
(d) Decree No. 4/1980 of 3 April 1980, which regulates the subsidiary
application of old Spanish laws and regulations which were applicable in
Equatorial Guinea until 12 October 1968.
The State party does not relate this information to the specific
circumstances of the author's case.
5.1 In his comments, the author challenges the State party's arguments and
forwards copies of his numerous démarches, administrative, judicial or
otherwise, to obtain judicial redress, adding that all the avenues of
redress that in the State party's opinion are open to him have been
systematically blocked by the authorities and President Obiang himself. In
this context, it is submitted that the judiciary in Equatorial Guinea cannot
act independently and impartially, since all judges and magistrates are
directly nominated by the President, and that the president of the Court of
Appeal himself is a member of the President's security forces.
5.2 The author contends that, since his departure from Equatorial Guinea in
1991, he has received death threats. He claims that the security services of
Equatorial Guinea have received the order to eliminate him, if necessary in
Spain. In this context, he argues that his departure from Malabo was only
possible with the protection and the help offered by a German citizen.
Moreover, since 29 September 1991, all his remaining properties in
Equatorial Guinea are said to have been systematically dismantled or
The Committee's decision on admissibility
6.1 During its forty-fourth session, in March 1992, the Committee considered
the admissibility of the communication. The Committee took note of the State
party's contention that domestic remedies were available to the author and
of the author's challenge to this affirmation. It recalled that it is
implicit in rule 91 of its rules of procedure and article 4, paragraph 2, of
the Optional Protocol, that a State party to the Covenant should make
available to the Committee all the information at its disposal, including,
at the stage of determination of the admissibility of the communication,
detailed information about remedies available to the victims of the alleged
violation in the circumstances of their cases. Taking into consideration the
State party's failure to link its observations to the specific circumstances
of the author's case, and bearing in mind that he had submitted very
comprehensive information in support of his contention that he sought to
avail himself of remedies under the laws of the State party, the Committee
was satisfied that he had met the requirements of article 5, paragraph 2
(b), of the Optional Protocol.
6.2 As to the allegations under articles 16; 17; 19; 20, paragraph 2; 25;
and 27, the Committee considered that the author had failed to substantiate
them for purposes of admissibility. Similarly, it noted that he had failed
to adduce sufficient evidence in support of his claim under article 6,
paragraph 1, and concluded that in this respect, he had failed to advance a
claim within the meaning of article 2 of the Optional Protocol.
6.3 On 25 March 1992, the Committee declared the communication admissible in
so far as it appeared to raise issues under articles 9, paragraphs 1 and 3;
12, paragraphs 1 and 2; 14, paragraph 1; and 26 of the Covenant.
The State party's further observations and comments
7.1 In a submission of 30 July 1992, the State party reaffirms that its
earlier submission made in respect of the admissibility of the case was
"sufficiently detailed, honest and reflective of the truth on this matter".
It admits that its version cannot be reconciled with that of the author.
7.2 The State party notes that it will not add anything further in terms of
clarifications or documentation and suggests that if the Committee intends
to seek to obtain a clearer picture of the author's allegations, it should
investigate in situ the "well-founded submissions of the State party and the
allegations of the author". The State party indicates that it is willing to
facilitate a fact-finding mission by the Committee and to provide all the
7.3 In a further submission dated 30 June 1993, the State party summarily
dismisses all of the author's allegations as unfounded and alleges that Mr.
Bahamonde suffers from a "persecution complex" ("obsesionado por su manía
persecutoria"). It contends that far from being harassed and persecuted, the
author owed both his high functions in the civil service of Equatorial
Guinea and his promotions to President Obiang himself, and that he left his
functions of his own free will. Accordingly, the State party contends that
it does not owe the author anything in terms of compensation and submits
that on the contrary, it could well prosecute the author for defamation,
abuse of office and for treason.
7.4 The State party asserts that there is no basis for the author's
contention of systematic political repression and an undemocratic system of
government in Equatorial Guinea, nor for the assertion that the
administration of justice is at the mercy of the executive and insensitive
to considerations, for example, of due process. On the contrary, more than
13 political parties were legalized in March 1993, and they are said to be
able to operate without restrictions. In the circumstances, the State party
requests the Committee to reject the author's submissions as an abuse of the
right of submission, under article 3 of the Optional Protocol.
Examination of the merits
8.1 The Committee has taken note of the State party's observations, which
reject the author's allegations in summary terms and invite the Committee to
ascertain in situ that there have been no violations of the Covenant.
8.2 As to the State party's suggestion that the Committee should investigate
the author's allegations in Equatorial Guinea, the Committee recalls that
pursuant to article 5, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol, it considers
communications "on the basis of all written information made available to it
by the individual and by the State party concerned". The Committee has no
choice but to confine itself to formulating its views in the present case on
the basis of the written information received. Article 4, paragraph 2, of
the Optional Protocol enjoins a State party to investigate thoroughly, in
good faith and within the imparted deadlines, all the allegations of
violations of the Covenant made against it, and to make available to the
Committee in written form all the information at its disposal. This the
State party has failed to do; in particular, it has not addressed the
substance of the author's claims under articles 9, 12, 14 or 26, the
provisions in respect of which the communication had been declared
admissible. Rather, it simply rejected them in general terms as unfounded.
Accordingly, due weight must be given to the author's allegations, to the
extent that they have been substantiated.
9.1 With respect to the author's allegation that he was arbitrarily arrested
and detained between 26 May and 17 June 1986, the Committee notes that the
State party has not contested this claim and merely indicated that the
author could have availed himself of judicial remedies. In the
circumstances, the Committee considers that the author has substantiated his
claim and concludes that he was subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention,
in violation of article 9, paragraph 1. It further concludes that as the
author was not brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized
by law to exercise judicial power, the State party has failed to comply with
its obligations under article 9, paragraph 3.
9.2 With regard to the author's claim that he was subjected to harassment,
intimidation and threats by prominent politicians and their respective
services on a number of occasions, the Committee observes that the State
party has dismissed the claim in general terms, without addressing the
author's well- substantiated allegations against several members of the
Government of President Obiang Nguema. The first sentence of article 9,
paragraph 1, guarantees to everyone the right to liberty and security of
person. The Committee has already had the opportunity to explain that this
right may be invoked not only in the context of arrest and detention, and
that an interpretation of article 9 which would allow a State party to
ignore threats to the personal security of non-detained persons within its
jurisdiction would render ineffective the guarantees of the Covenant. FNa In
the circumstances of the case, the Committee concludes that the State party
has failed to ensure Mr. Oló Bahamonde's right to security of person, in
violation of article 9, paragraph 1.
Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-fifth Session, Supplement
No. 40 (A/45/40), annex IX.D, Communication No. 195/1985 (Delgado Páez v.
Colombia), views adopted on 12 July 1990, paras. 5.5 and 5.6; and ibid.,
Forty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 40 (A/48/40), annex XII.I,
communication No. 314/1988 (Bwalya v. Zambia), views adopted on 14 July
1993, para. 6.4.
9.3 The author has claimed, and the State party has not denied, that his
passport was confiscated on two occasions in March 1986, and that he was
denied the right to leave his country of his own free will. This, in the
Committee's opinion, amounts to a violation of article 12, paragraphs 1 and
2, of the Covenant.
9.4 The author has contended that despite several attempts to obtain
judicial redress before the courts of Equatorial Guinea, all of his
démarches have been unsuccessful. This claim has been refuted summarily by
the State party, which argued that the author could have invoked specific
legislation before the courts, without however linking its argument to the
circumstances of the case. The Committee observes that the notion of
equality before the courts and tribunals encompasses the very access to the
courts, and that a situation in which an individual's attempts to seize the
competent jurisdictions of his/her grievances are systematically frustrated
runs counter to the guarantees of article 14, paragraph 1. In this context,
the Committee has also noted the author's contention that the President of
the State party controls the judiciary in Equatorial Guinea. The Committee
considers that a situation where the functions and competences of the
judiciary and the executive are not clearly distinguishable or where the
latter is able to control or direct the former is incompatible with the
notion of an independent and impartial tribunal within the meaning of
article 14, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.
9.5 Finally, on the basis of the information before it, the Committee
concludes that Mr. Oló Bahamonde has been discriminated against because of
his political opinions and his open criticism of, and opposition to, the
Government and the ruling political party, in violation of article 26 of the
10. The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, is of the view that the facts before it reveal violations of
articles 9, paragraphs 1 and 3; 12, paragraphs 1 and 2; 14, paragraph 1; and
26 of the Covenant.
11. Pursuant to article 2 of the Covenant, the State party is under an
obligation to provide Mr. Oló Bahamonde with an appropriate remedy. The
Committee urges the State party to guarantee the security of his person, to
return confiscated property to him or to grant him appropriate compensation,
and that the discrimination to which he has been subjected be remedied
12. The Committee would wish to receive information, within 90 days, on any
measures taken by the State party in respect of the Committee's views.