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Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, U.N. Doc. A/52/44, paras. 70-80 (1996).



Convention Abbreviation: CAT


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

C. Algeria

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 and recommendations.

1. Introduction
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.

2. Positive aspects
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.

4. Subjects of concern
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.

5. Recommendations
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 powers;

(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 are published;

(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.


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