Paris, N’Djamena, 1 June 2015 – FIACAT and ACAT Chad call for the Chadian government to make torture a criminal offence and to prosecute the superior of those who committed acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment during the police intervention to curtail the demonstration of 9 March 2015 .
Several demonstrations have been brutally repressed in Chad in recent months. During these demonstrations, the law enforcement and security authorities have had recourse to excessive use of force, with the result that many demonstrators have been killed or injured. In particular, on 9 March 2015, at N’Djamena, a demonstration of students and school children was violently repressed by the police causing the death of three school children and one student and wounding a number of demonstrators. Furthermore, students and school children have been arrested and subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment while held by the Police’s Mobile Intervention Group (GMIP).
After these facts had come to light in a video disseminated on the Internet, the Court decided to open a criminal investigation. Some police officers could be identified on the video and were prosecuted. On 20 May 2015, the N’Djamena Regional Court [Tribunal de grande instance] sentenced 8 of the police officers identified to a 6 months’ prison sentence and a fine of 50 000 FCFA for unjustified violence, battery and complicity. The other six officers who had been arrested were released without charge.
This sentence, however, is not enough. As torture is still not a criminal act under the Chadian Criminal Code, the acts committed by the police during this demonstration have not been prosecuted as acts of torture and the sentences are not proportionate to the gravity of these acts. Furthermore, the sentences handed down by the N’Djamena Regional Court did not address those hierarchically responsible for these acts of torture, even though the police officers sentenced had identified the Commander of the GMIP as the person responsible for ordering them to commit these acts.
FIACAT and ACAT Chad therefore call upon the Chadian authorities to:
- Prosecute those responsible for ordering acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on 9 March 2015 through the criminal courts;
- Make torture a criminal offence in the Chadian Criminal Code to ensure that the sentences imposed on the authors of such acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are dissuasive and proportionate to the gravity of these acts.