COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
70. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Algeria
(CAT/C/25/Add.8) at its 272nd and 273rd meetings, held on 18 November
1996 (see CAT/C/SR.272 and 273), and adopted the following conclusions
71. The Committee welcomes the presentation of the second periodic
report of Algeria and thanks the Algerian delegation for its oral
introduction to that report.
72. The Committee also thanks the delegation for its willingness to
engage in dialogue with the Committee and for the valuable information
it provided on the situation in Algeria.
73. The Committee notes with satisfaction Algeria's commitment to
institutionalize the rule of law and promote the protection of human
rights as evidenced, inter alia, by its ratification of the
Convention (without reservation and with declarations under articles
21 and 22), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
74. The Committee also notes with satisfaction the adoption of new
legislation: provisions making torture a crime and making searches
subject to the consent of the householder and to a court warrant,
limits on the duration of pre-trial detention, and the introduction
of court supervision as an alternative to pre-trial detention.
75. It welcomes the establishment in March 1995 of the Office of Ombudsman
and the closure of the administrative detention centres.
76. The Committee thanks the State party for its contribution to the
United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. The Committee
has learned with great satisfaction of the proposed amendment to the
Constitution and the plans for setting up a council of State, creating
a national human rights observatory and scheduling legislative and
municipal elections over the period from March to June 1997.
3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions
of the Convention
77. The Committee is quite well aware that, in the current period
of transition to democracy and in the light of the prevailing violence
and its many forms, there are impediments to the effective implementation
of all the provisions of the Convention.
78. The Committee is concerned that:
(a) Torture is not more fully defined, in conformity with article
1 of the Convention;
(b) Detention in custody can be extended to 12 days;
(c) Decree 92/44 of 9 February 1992 allows the Minister of the Interior
or his nominee to order administrative placement in custody centres
with no judicial supervision.
79. While welcoming the fact that the death penalty has not been enforced
since 1993, the Committee is still concerned at reports from human
rights organizations concerning extrajudicial executions, disappearances
and a rising incidence of torture since 1991, after torture had virtually
ceased between 1989 and 1991.
80. While it is aware of the difficulties posed by the existence of
terrorist groups, the Committee reminds the State party that torture
is not warranted in any exceptional circumstances. In that light,
it recommends that:
(a) To avoid any ambiguity, the State party should arrange for the
full text of the Convention to be published in the Official Gazette;
(b) The definition of torture should be revised to bring it into closer
conformity with article 1 of the Convention;
(c) Consideration should be given to making the judiciary more independent
and ensuring the effective exercise of its internationally recognized
(d) Steps should be taken to ensure that only a judicial authority
can take decisions restricting individual liberty;
(e) In accordance with its obligations under various conventions,
particularly article 12 of the Convention, the State party should
ensure that an objective inquiry is made promptly whenever there are
reasonable grounds to believe that an act of torture has been committed
in territory under its jurisdiction and that the results of such inquiries
(f) The Committee should be given information on all the individual
cases raised during the presentation of the second report on the basis
of allegations by human rights organizations.