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The Republic of Benin


Benin has had a stable and democratic government since the 1990s. It has peacefully organized six presidential elections, seven legislative elections, and three local elections. From that time, Benin has not experienced gross human rights violations. However, a number of recurrent transnational and domestic crimes affect the country’s security and economy, including piracy, toxic waste dumping, drug trafficking, and corruption.


Treaty ratification Process

The Constitution of Benin (arts.144-149) provides that the President of the Republic negotiates, signs, and ratifies treaties. In some instances, however, ratification may occur only after approval of the Parliament through the adoption of a bill introduced by the Executive for that purpose and, when seized, after the Constitutional Court has declared the particular treaty in conformity with the Constitution. The Constitution puts a particular emphasis on the willingness of Benin to ratify instruments related to African regional integration. Practically, the processes of ratification are carried out by the Department of Legal Affairs (Direction des Affaires Juridiques) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Executive branch and a standing committee of Parliament that analyses the bill and produces a recommendation report for the plenary session. International instruments duly ratified and published become part of Benin’s domestic law, as Benin is a monist country.


State of legislation on International and transnational crimes

Benin ratified the Rome Statute on January 22, 2002 but has not yet fully harmonized its domestic legislation with the statute. In December 2012, Benin enacted a new code of criminal procedure that provides for the cooperation of Benin with the International Criminal Court (ICC). But the country still needs specific legislation to criminalize the core international crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression. The current criminal code also fails to criminalize many transnational crimes, as the code is a collection of texts of French origin that were made applicable in the West African French Colonies by a decree of May 6, 1877. The legislature of Benin has repeatedly attempted to revise this 140-years-old document without success. In fact, a penal code bill was sent to the National Assembly for adoption almost two decades ago but was never adopted. The current legislature is reviewing the penal code to modernize it and, presumably, to add international and transnational crimes.


Human Rights treaty signing and ratification trends

Benin signed the Malabo protocol on 28 January 2015 but it is unknown whether the country has taken any further steps toward ratification. Benin is a State Party to the Protocol establishing the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and has made the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals. So far, only one case has been lodged in the court against the Republic of Benin and it is still pending. Benin also signed the Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union, and signed and ratified the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. Benin has signed and ratified almost all of the human rights instruments at the AU and UN level. For AU treaties, it takes an average of 57 months between signature and ratification. Regarding UN treaties, there is an average of 63 months between signature and the ratification. [1] However, it is important to note that Benin has not accepted any individual complaints procedures for any UN treaty body.

AU Judicial bodies membership

Treaty Signature Ratification
Protocol to the African Charter on Human And Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Yes Yes
Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union Yes No
  Protocol on The Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Merger Protocol) Yes Yes
Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Yes No


[1] See Annex: Treaty signing and ratification trends, calculation chart, Benin.