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Central African Republic reviewed by the Human Rights Committee, July 2006

July 2006

[English] [français]

The Human Rights Committee will hold its 87th session in Geneva, from 10th to 28th July 2006.

Central African Republic

The Committee will examine the Central African Republic second periodic report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

FIACAT followed this examination because an ACAT exist in Central African Republic.

- The second periodic report of Central African Republic

- The list of complementary questions asked by the Committee to Central African Republic (Only in french)

- The Committee’s Conclusions and recommendations

- [[Press release] Central African Republic must bring its legislation into line with the Pact->art1777]

FIACAT wrote a Counter report to Central African Republic second periodic report.

FIACAT presented its report in front of the committee on 10th of July 2006.

You can find below the four most important recommendations of FIACAT.

FIACAT’S main recommendations

1. To define and criminalise torture in domestic legislation

FIACAT believes that a definition of torture is needed for an effective implementation of the Pact.

Were a law defining torture and making it a criminal offence to exist, then acts of torture could be prevented and more effectively punished.

From now on, the Central African Republic cannot simply limit its action to banning torture in general terms. Moreover, torture cannot be seen solely as an aggravating element to a main offence. Torture must be considered a crime in its own right.

Once a definition of acts of torture enters domestic law, with clear indications of its criminal nature, the Central African bodies can punish instances of it more adequately. Criminal legislation must take into consideration the particular seriousness of acts of torture, both in the definition of the offence and in its punishment.

When it adopts its new Criminal Code, the Central African Republic must ensure that torture is defined and becomes a separate criminal offence.

2. To fight against arbitrary executions FIACAT believes that arbitrary executions carried out by the OCRB amount to a direct violation of the Pact.

The government justifies using summary executions and arbitrary detentions by the OCRB and states that these act as a deterrent and are accepted by the general public. The government must change its position.

The Central African Republic must put an end to arbitrary executions by banning them and punishing them through its courts. A formal ban on all extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions must be integrated into the new Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

3. To fight against impunity

According to reports from several NGOs based on many witness accounts, abuses are largely inflicted by the forces responsible for law and order, and in particular by members of the OCRB. However, very few officials have to date been incriminated.

This situation is unacceptable. The Central African Republic must do everything it can to ensure that the perpetrators of all violations of human rights are prosecuted and convicted.

Those who are entrusted with studying the issue must be fully aware of the notion of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Proper human rights training and specific specialist understanding of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are indispensable.

The Central African Republic must implement those steps needed to fight impunity. That involves incorporating into domestic legislation a ban on any violation of those rights set out in the Pact, guaranteeing independent and impartial justice and implementing effective sanctions.

4. To ensure detainees’ human rights as set out in the Pact are respected

Even if the living conditions of prisoners have seen some improvement, there are many gaps that need bridging.

The number of detainees in prisons is still too high and their rights too often not respected.

The following rights must be regulated:

-  The right to food: the State must ensure that it feeds all those it detains.

-  The right to a lawyer: must be guaranteed from the moment custody commences. It must not depend on first being brought before a judge. In addition, the detained person must be able to choose his legal advisor freely.

-  The right to a doctor: this right must not depend on the good will of those in charge of detainees.

The Central African Republic must transpose into domestic legislation the rights and obligations needed to implement the Pact.

In this way, the right to access for the family, to a doctor and to a lawyer and the conditions of detention must explicitly be regulated.

The draft reform of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure must incorporate and regulate these different rights.

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