Extrajudicial killings

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Extrajudicial killings
Torture cruel inhuman or degrading treatment
Harmful practices affecting the rights of children
Life
Harmful practices affecting the rights of women

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Commission) meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter);

Further Recalling its previous press statements published since its promotional Mission to Cameroon from 1 to 7 February 2011, asking all parties to hold a constructive and inclusive dialogue to end human rights violations in the country, as well as independent and impartial investigations on the alleged human rights violations including extra judicial killings; enforced disappearances; cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and  also requesting a general mission of promotion of human rights ;

Further Recalling the relevant provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter) concerning the protection of the right to life, respect for human dignity, prevention of torture, prevention of extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, and protection of children’s rights;

Conscious of the relevant provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on ensuring the survival, protection and development of the child, protection and care of children affected by armed conflict, protection and special assistance for children deprived of their family environment;

Recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res. 395 (LXII) 2018 on the Human Rights Situation in Cameroon; and ResolutionACHPR/Res. 405 (LXIII) 2018 on the Continuing Human Rights Violations in the Republic of Cameroon adopted at its62nd Ordinary Session and 63rd Ordinary Session respectively;

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, in particular, about allegations of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; beatings, harassment, especially reports received about killing of children in schools in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, as well as killing of women;

Bearing in mind the Commission's role under Article 45, paragraph 1 (b) of the African Charter, which requires that "principles and rules are formulated and established to resolve legal problems affecting the enjoyment of human and peoples' rights and fundamental freedoms on which African governments can base their legislation;"

Also bearing in mind Cameroon’s obligations under the African Charter; the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and all other human rights instruments the State has ratified;

The Commission:

1.   Reiterates its Condemnation to all forms of violations of rights to which civilians, in particular women and children have been directly or indirectly subjected in the context of the current crises in the Anglophone regions Cameroon;

2.   Encourages the Government to work towards a more peaceful solution to the ongoing crises in order to protect the lives of the civilian population and restore unity and peace to the country;

3.   Calls on the Government to undertake institutional reforms to remedy  what has been dubbed as the Anglophone problem, as well as engage in Dialogue with various actors with the objective of a lasting resolution to the problem;

4.   Calls on the Government to ensure respect for its international obligations under the African Charter; the Maputo Protocol; the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other human rights instruments the State is party to;

5.   While recognizing steps taken by the Government to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, including the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into some of the killings; a National Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism; recruitment of more Anglophone magistrates and bilingual teachers; calls on the Government to authorize a Fact-finding Mission into the country, to enable the Commission ascertain the violations alleged.

Done virtually, on 5 December 2021.

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Imprisoned/detained people
Security of the person
Excessive use of force
Protests and demonstrations
Police action
Assembly
Death penalty
Extrajudicial killings

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Taking into consideration Article 45(1) (a) of the African Charter, which mandates the Commission ʺto collect documents, undertake studies and research on African problems in the field of human and peoples' rightsʺ;

Taking into consideration Article 4 of the African Charter which enshrines the right to life and prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of such right;

Reaffirming Article 6 of the African Charter which enshrines the right of an individual to liberty and to the security of his person;

Further reaffirming Article 11 of the African Charter which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly;

Recalling General Comment nº 3 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Right to Life (Article 4), adopted by the Commission during  its 57th Ordinary Session held from 4 to 18 November 2015, whereby every State shall take reasonable provisional measures aimed at protecting life and preventing the excessive use of force by their agents;

Further recalling the Guidelines for the Policing of Assemblies by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa, adopted during the 21st Extraordinary Session held from 23 February to 04 March 2017, which provide that State Parties shall respect the right of everyone to peaceful demonstration within the legal limitations and in concurrence with regional and international human rights instruments;

Bearing in mind the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials adopted at the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Cuba from 27 August to 07 September 1990;

Recalling its ACHPR/Res.79(XXXVIII)05 Resolution on the Composition and the Operationalisation of the Working Group on Death Penalty, and ACHPR/Res.227 (LII) 2012 Resolution on the Expansion of the Working Group on Death Penalty in Africa to include Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; 

Further recalling its decision to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa during its 20th Ordinary Session held from 21 to 31 October 1996, as well as ACHPR/Res.306 (EXT.OS/ XVIII) 2015 Resolution on the Expansion of the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa to include issues relating to policing and human rights;

Recalling ACHPR/Res. 437 (EXT.OS/ XXVI1) 2020 Resolution on the Need to Prepare a Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa;

Taking into account the need to supplement the above mentioned study with a practical training manual to facilitate its implementation at stakeholder level;

The Commission:

i. Decides to develop a Training Manual on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials and Prison/Correctional Guards;

ii. Calls on Member States and interested civil society organizations to contribute towards the development of the Training Manual.

 Done virtually, on 5 December 2021

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
ACHPR Procedures
Special mechanism
Working group
Death penalty
Extrajudicial killings

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021;

Recalling its mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Recalling also the decision of the Commission at its 37th Ordinary Session to appoint two Commissioners to work with the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa to prepare a concept paper on the issue of the death penalty in Africa;

Recalling further its Resolutions ACHPR/Res.42 (XXVI) 99 and ACHPR/Res.136 (XXXXIIII) 08 calling on States Parties to observe a moratorium on the death penalty;

Bearing in mind United Nations General Assembly Resolution 71/187, adopted in December 2016, calling upon all States that still maintain the death penalty to observe, inter alia, a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;

Recalling its ACHPR Resolution ACHPR/Res.79 (XXXVIII) 05 on the Composition and Operationalization of the Working Group on the Death Penalty (Working Group) aiming in particular at broadening the composition of the Working Group and its mandate;

Recalling also its Resolutions ACHPR /Res.113 (XXXXII) 07, ACHPR /Res.152 (XLVI) 09, ACHPR /Res.201 (L) 11, ACHPR /Res.251 (LIV) 2013, ACHPR /Res.317 (LVII) 15, ACHPR /Res.384 (LXI) 2017 and ACHPR /Res. 448 (LXVI) 2020 on the renewal of the mandate of the Working Group;

Recalling further its Resolution ACHPR /Res.425 (LXV) 2019 renewing the mandate of all its Special Mechanisms, the Working Group included, for a period of six (6) months;

Emphasising its Resolutions ACHPR/Res.227 (LII) 12 and ACHPR/Res.408 (LXII) 2018 extending the mandate of the Working Group to issues relating to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings and to issues concerning enforced disappearances respectively;

Recalling its Resolution ACHPR/Res. 480 (LXVIII) 2021 on the redistribution of the mandates of country Rapporteurs and Special Mechanisms among the Commissioners and which appointed Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel as Chairperson of the Working Group;

Noting with satisfaction the work accomplished by the Working Group, under the leadership of Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel, since her appointment on 8 May 2021;

Reaffirming the commitment of the Commission to promote the right to life and to pursue its advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty and the prohibition of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings and enforced disappearances in Africa;

Recognising the importance of the Working Group on the Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Africa and the need to enable it to continue to carry out its mandate and deal with the major issues emanating therefrom;

Keeping in mind the Rules governing the creation and functioning of the Commission’s Special Mechanisms (the Rules on the creation and functioning of the Special Mechanisms of the Commission), (the Rules on the Special Mechanisms) adopted by the Commission at its 27th Extraordinary Session held from 19 February to 4 March 2020 in Banjul, The Gambia;

Noting in particular the guidelines set out in the Rules on Special Mechanisms, including the general role and responsibilities of the mandate-holders, the composition of the special mechanisms, the appointment of members and the duration of their mandates, and the code of conduct for mandate-holders;

Further noting the decision taken during the 69th Ordinary Session held from 15 November to 5 December 2021, relative to the distribution of responsibilities of the Special Mechanisms among the Commissioners;

Decides to appoint and reconstitute the Membership of the Working Group as follows:

1.   Commissioner Idrissa Sow, Chairperson;

2.   Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel, Vice-Chairperson; and

3.   Commissioner Ourveena Geereesha Topsy-Sonoo, Member;

Maintain the same composition of expert members. 

 Done virtually, on 5 December 2021