Paris – Lomé, 23 February 2012 – The Togolese National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has published its report on allegations of torture by members of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) and the gendarmerie. FIACAT and its members, ACAT Togo and ACAT France, welcome the painstaking investigation carried out by the CNDH and its pertinent conclusions and recommendations. The report states that the prisoners referred to in the investigation had been subjected to “physical and moral violence of an inhuman and degrading nature”.
In September 2011, following the trial of thirty-three people accused of threatening the security of the State, the Togolese government ordered the CNDH to conduct an impartial investigation into allegations of torture and produce a report. The CNDH interviewed all the accused and the presumed torturers.
FIACAT, ACAT Togo and ACAT France are concerned about the circumstances in which the CNDH report was published. An initial report attributed to the CNDH was in fact made public by the Togolese authorities on 18 February. It concluded that those accused of the attempted coup d’état in 2009 had not been tortured. On 20 February, the CNDH published on its internet site a report which it termed “authentic” and in which it concluded that “prisoners were subject to physical and moral violence of an inhuman and degrading nature”. The CNDH Chairman fled to Paris following threats against him and maintained that the government had published a falsified report obtained under duress.
Initially, the Togolese government expressed its surprise that an “authentic” report existed and denied the allegations that it had published a falsified report. The CNDH members met the Prime Minister yesterday and handed over the “authentic” report. The authorities announced that they were prepared to study it in a spirit of total objectivity in order to take concrete steps to consolidate the rule of law. In these circumstances, we wonder why it has been impossible to access the CNDH internet site since yesterday morning.
The CNDH report specifically recommends that the government make an example of all those who took part, either directly or indirectly, in the torture referred to and ensure that the victims receive fair compensation. The Chairman of ACAT Togo, Me Jil-Benoit Kossi Afangbedji, reasserted that only when those responsible for such loathsome crimes have been prosecuted, judged and condemned can steps be said to have been taken to combat impunity and deter any potential torturers.
The CNDH recommends various measures to prevent any further instances of torture, in particular revision of the regulations governing the ANR, steps to ensure that places of detention are subject to strict judicial monitoring in the future, the strengthening of the role of the CNDH and of human rights organisations and the criminalisation of torture in the Togolese Criminal Code.
FIACAT, ACAT Togo and ACAT France welcome the fact that the CNDH has shown itself impartial and produced pertinent recommendations. We would ask the Togolese authorities to take all necessary steps to implement those recommendations in order to enforce an absolute ban on torture in Togo. We are concerned about the events surrounding publication of the report and urge the Togolese authorities to guarantee the safety of the CNDH members.
Sabrina Aït-Aoudia - firstname.lastname@example.org - +33 (0)1 42 80 01 60