This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Togo ratified the CRC in 1990 and the Optional Protocols on the sale of children in 2004 and on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2005. The CRC was partially implemented by Togo’s Children’s Code, however this Code does not fully recognise children as rights holders, and many provisions do not comply with the CRC. The CRC takes precedence over domestic legislation but it seems that courts do not refer to it frequently. Children can generally bring cases through representatives (most often their parents), but courts can appoint an ad hoc guardian in case of a conflict of interests. There are some children specialised courts, where children in danger and NGOs can bring cases directly. Nevertheless, children can be tried in regular courts if they are accused alongside an adult and there are not enough children courts. A Legal Aid Act was adopted in 2013 but is not yet functioning because it lacks implementing measures. Togo’s judicial system faces numerous general issues such as delays, executive supremacy, and overcrowded prisons.