COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
102. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Senegal
(CAT/C/17/Add.14) at its 247th and 248th meetings, on 1 May 1996
(CAT/C/SR.247 and 248), and has adopted the following conclusions
103. The Committee welcomes the submission by Senegal of its second
periodic report and its core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.51) and thanks
the delegation for its oral introduction and for its frank collaboration,
as demonstrated by its constructive dialogue with the Committee.
2. Positive aspects
104. The Committee notes with great satisfaction Senegal's firm
commitment to the defence of human rights, demonstrated, inter
alia, by its ratification of a series of international treaties
concerning the protection of human rights, and the modernization
of legislation on the subject which is now in progress. In addition,
the State party's frank collaboration with the Committee shows its
willingness to fulfil the obligations it assumed when ratifying
105. The Committee notes as a positive aspect that the status accorded
by the Senegalese Constitution to international treaties ratified
by Senegal is higher than that of domestic law.
106. The Committee also regards as very positive recent developments
in the field of human rights in Senegal as set forth in the joint
communiqué by a delegation of the Government and non-governmental
organizations of 13 March 1996, announcing the establishment of
a periodic dialogue and the establishment of a human rights unit.
107. The Committee also welcomes the fact that the Senegalese delegation,
on behalf of the authorities of the State party, has undertaken
to ensure that measures are taken to provide for the training of
personnel performing the functions listed in article 10 of the Convention,
particularly medical personnel, and to complete the procedure regarding
the declaration provided for under article 22 of the Convention.
3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application
of the provisions of the Convention
108. At the normative level, the Committee notes the absence of
regulations to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention.
109. The Committee notes that the conflict in Casamance sometimes
impedes effective implementation of the Convention.
4. Subjects of concern
110. The Committee is disturbed by the numerous cases of torture
that have been brought to its attention by non-governmental organizations
of established credibility, and are also referred to in the State
party's report, notably in paragraphs 12, 37 and 103.
111. While taking into account the particular problem of Casamance,
which is threatening the integrity and security of the State, the
Committee recalls that a democracy must, whatever the circumstances,
ensure that only legitimate means are used to protect the security
of the State, peace and stability.
112. The Committee is concerned that, in its report, the State party
invokes a discrepancy between international and internal law to
justify granting impunity for acts of torture on the basis of the
113. The Committee is doubtful whether the provisions in force in
Senegal can effectively ensure full respect for the fundamental
rights of persons in police custody.
114. The Committee recommends that the State party should, during
its current legislative reform, consider introducing explicitly
in national legislation the following provisions:
(a) The definition of torture set forth in article 1 of the Convention
and the classification of torture as a general offence, in accordance
with article 4 of the Convention, which would, inter alia,
permit the State party to exercise universal jurisdiction as provided
in articles 5 et seq. of the Convention;
(b) A blanket prohibition of any act of torture, with the stipulation
that no exceptional circumstance may be invoked to justify torture,
in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention;
(c) An express provision stipulating that an order from a superior
officer or from a public authority may not be invoked to justify
torture, in accordance with article 2, paragraph 3, of the Convention;
(d) Provisions explicitly prohibiting evidence from being obtained
by torture and prohibiting any statement shown to have been extracted
in this way from being used as evidence in any proceedings, in accordance
with article 15 of the Convention.
115. The Committee recommends that all of the crimes referred to
in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention should automatically
be made the subject of a rigorous and prompt investigation by the
competent judicial authorities and by the Government Attorney.
116. The Committee recommends that any person accused of an offence
under criminal law should be subject to an objective investigation
and, in the event that his responsibility is established, handed
over to the competent authority as soon as possible.
117. The Committee recommends that article 79 of the Senegalese
Constitution, establishing the precedence of international treaty
law ratified by Senegal over internal law be implemented unreservedly.
The Committee considers the amnesty laws in force in Senegal to
be inadequate to ensure proper implementation of certain provisions
of the Convention.
118. The Committee hopes that the allegations made by the non-governmental
organizations will be investigated and the results transmitted to
119. Finally, the Committee would welcome a contribution, however
symbolic, from the Senegalese Government to the United Nations Voluntary
Fund for Victims of Torture.