Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi

Activities as Commission Chairperson


    INTERSESSION ACTIVITY REPORT

    (November 2013 - April 2014)

    Presented by

     

    COMMISSIONER KAYITESI ZAINABO SYLVIE

    CHAIRPERSON, ACHPR

     

     

    LUANDA, ANGOLA

    28 April - 12 May 2014

     

     

    INTRODUCTION

     

    1.      This report is presented in accordance with Rules 23(3) and 72 of the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission). It covers activities carried out during the intersession period between November 2013 and April 2014.

    2.      The report is divided into three (3) parts. Part 1 covers activities conducted in my capacity as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Commission. Part 2 gives an account of my activities as the Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa, in accordance with my mandate under Resolution ACHPR/Res.251 (LIV) 2013. Part 3 consists of a brief summary on the situation of the death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings in Africa. In its conclusion, the report presents some recommendations.

     

    Part 1: Activities undertaken in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Commission

     

    a.      Coordination of the Commission’s activities and supervision of the work of the Secretariat

     3.      In accordance with Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, I coordinated the promotion and protection activities of members of the Commission and supervised the work of the Secretariat during the period under review. In this regard, the necessary guidance was provided on various issues.

     

    b.      Participation in the meetings of AU policy organs

     4.      A delegation of the Commission, comprised of myself, the Vice-Chairperson Commissioner Mohamed Béchir Khalfallah, and the Secretary to the Commission, participated in the meetings of AU policy organs, in particular the 27th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), the 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, and the 22nd Summit of the AU Conference held from 21 - 31 January 2014.

     5.      During this period, I presented and defended, before the PRC and later the Executive Council, the 35th Activity Report of the Commission and the report of the AU-commissioned fact-finding mission to the Republic of Mali. These reports were adopted and authorised for publication. 

    c.      Participation in the statutory meetings between the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and the Commission

     6.      The Bureau of the Commission, comprising of myself and the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, Commissioner Mohamed Béchir Khalfallah, attended the 5th Meeting of the Bureaux of the Commission and the Court that was organised on 24 January 2014 on the margins of the 22nd Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

     7.      The objective of the meeting was to continue discussions on issues of common interest. At the meeting, the Bureaux of the two institutions agreed on the dates of the next joint meeting between the Commission and the Court, as well as on a roadmap for the joint preparation of the Concept Note of Project 2016, a year which has been chosen as “African Human Rights Year”.

     8.      Also at the meeting, we discussed the joint proposal of the Court and the AU Department of Political Affairs to establish a Pan-African Institute for Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission has already appointed a Committee of three (3) Commissioners to work with the Committee of three (3) members constituted by the Court and the team already constituted by the Department of Political Affairs in that regard.

     

    d.      Participation in joint activities organised by the Commission and the Court

     9.      Still on the margins of the AU Summit, we held a press conference, jointly with the President of the Court. The press conference was held as part of the complementarity relationship between the Commission and the Court and was aimed at presenting the mandates and activities of the two institutions, their roles in promoting and protecting human rights on the continent, the relationship between the two institutions and their contribution towards meeting the objectives of the African Union.

     

    e.      Participation in other meetings organised on the margins of the AU Summit

    10. On the margins of the AU Summit organised in January 2014, the Commission delegation which I led participated in a working meeting with the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, H.E. Dr Aisha Abdullahi, and her advisers, including Dr Khabele Matlosa – the newly appointed Director of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). Our discussions focused on the AU Human Rights Strategy for Africa (HRSA), the observer mission in Djibouti and in the Central African Republic, the ratification of instruments and recruitment at the Secretariat of the Commission.

    11. Also on the margins of the Summit, the Commission delegation held a meeting with the European Union Ambassador to the African Union and Ambassadors of all European Union countries accredited to the African Union. During the meeting, I made a presentation on the Commission’s mandate in promoting and protecting human rights on the continent. We also discussed about the Commission’s capacity building.

    12. The Commission delegation also held a meeting with the European Union Ambassador to the African Union and his advisers. At the end of the meeting, the EU pledged to support four subsidiary mechanisms of the Commission, including the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, and the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa. The EU also pledged to finance the organisation of the Continental Conference on the Death Penalty in Africa. 

    13. During the Summit, accompanied by the Secretary to the Commission, we also met with the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr Ivan Šimonović. Our discussions focused on strengthening the collaboration between the UN Human Rights Council and the African Commission, the South Sudan Commission of Inquiry and the question of the death penalty.

    14. Accompanied by the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, we also met with H.E. Ambassador Sueilma Beiruk, one of the Vice-Presidents of PAP and a Member of Parliament in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). We discussed the human rights situation in the occupied territories of SADR.

     

    f.       Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration, la Francophonie and Beninese Abroad of Benin

    15. On the margins of the 22nd Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we met, together with the Secretary to the Commission Dr Mary Maboreke, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration, la Francophonie and Beninese Abroad of the Republic of Benin, H.E. Nassirou BAKO ARIFARI. The latter was accompanied by Ambassador Eric Franck SAIZONOU, Legal Affairs Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Benin. We discussed areas of synergy and collaboration between the Ministerial Conference on the Death Penalty recently organised by Benin and the Continental Conference on the Death Penalty to be organised by the Working Group. We agreed that the Commission and the Government of Benin will jointly organise the conference from 9 - 11 June 2014 in Cotonou, Benin.

     

    g.                  Promotion mission

    16.             In my capacity as the Commissioner responsible for human rights promotion activities in the Gabonese Republic, I undertook a human rights promotion mission in Gabon, together with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, Commissioner Soyata Maiga, from 13 - 18 January 2014 in accordance with Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).

    17.             The mission was an occasion for the Commission and Gabonese authorities to continue the constructive dialogue that began during Gabon’s presentation of its initial and combined periodic report for 1986-2012 at the 54th Ordinary Session of the Commission held from 22 October - 5 November 2013 in Banjul, The Gambia. I wish to express my gratitude to the Government of Gabon for authorising and facilitating the conduct of the mission. The report of the mission will be considered by the Commission during this Session.

    h.      Participation in the mission to the Central African Republic

    18. At the invitation of the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, H.E. Dr Aisha L. Abdullahi, I participated in a mission led by the latter to the Central African Republic from 17 - 20 February 2014. The delegation of the mission included the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, Mr Béchir M. Khalfallah, and the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Sophia Akuffo. The objective of the mission was to meet with officials of the transitional government, politicians, civil society and religious groups in order to raise awareness about the need to create an effective synergy towards a successful transition, as well as discuss the urgent and crucial human rights situation in the country.

    19. The delegation discussed with the recently elected authorities of the transitional government about the organisation of democratic, transparent and inclusive elections, the adoption of a new Constitution, and restoring peace, security and social cohesion.

     

    i.       Participation in the 15th Extraordinary Session of the Commission

    20. I chaired the 15th Extraordinary Session of the Commission held from 7 - 14 March 2014 in Banjul, The Gambia. During the Session, the Commission considered a total of 19 Communications and adopted other documents considered.

     

    j.       Participation in the Training and  Consultation Session organised by GIZ towards improving the Commission’s Communication Procedure, 13 - 14 March 2014

    21. On the margins of the 15th Extraordinary Session, I participated alongside other members of the Commission in the Training and Consultation Session organised as part of GIZ support to the Commission. During the meeting, which included a group of three experts[1], we shared experiences and good practices with the inter-American and European systems with a view to improving the Commission’s Communication procedure.

    22. Our discussions focused on the various Communication procedures of the Commission, the relationship and possible transfer of cases to the African Court.  It was an opportunity for the Commission to discuss about possible amendments regarding some problematic provisions and lacunae of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure.

     

    k.      Roundtable discussion on “Ensuring reproductive rights through Public Interest Litigation in Rwanda”

    23. On 26 March 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda, I participated in a conference that was co-organized by two human rights non-governmental organizations, namely the Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development and the Centre for Reproductive Rights on the theme “Ensuring Reproductive Rights Through Public Interest Litigation in Rwanda”. The Conference was organized for lawyers, members of the Rwanda Bar Association, jurists and doctors. I made a presentation on the topic: “The African Human Rights System and Rwanda’s Implementation of the Maputo Protocol, Particularly Article 14: Prospects and Challenges”.

    24. Apart from analysing institutional mechanisms in charge of implementing human rights instruments on the continent, in particular the functioning and the procedures of the African Commission, the presentation highlighted an analytical and critical view of the theory and practice of rights and duties enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and in specific instruments such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Protocol to the African Charter relating to the rights of women. The presentation focused also on measures and strategies that Rwanda adopted in order to implement Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol.

     

    1. Consultation between UN Human Rights Council special procedures mandate-holders and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the implementation of the Addis Ababa roadmap, 27 April, Luanda, Angola

    25   On 27 April 2014, I chaired a meeting between the UN special procedures and the special mechanisms of the Commission. The objective of the meeting was to assess the achievements and the lessons learned during the two years of implementing the Addis Ababa roadmap that was adopted in January 2012. The meeting provided an opportunity for the two institutions to identify the challenges and define the way forward in order to strengthen the implementation of the roadmap and maintain lasting cooperation.

     

    1. Notes Verbales

    26. On 30 January 2014, in my capacity as the Commissioner responsible for human rights promotion activities in Djibouti, I sent a note verbale to Djibouti reiterating my request for authorisation to undertake a promotion mission in the country. The Government responded favourably to my request.

     

     Part 2: Activities of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa

     

     A.    Participation in various meetings and activities

     

    a.      Participation in the Regional Conference on the Abolition and/or Moratorium on the Death Penalty

    27. During the intersession, the Working Group, represented by one of its expert members, Professor Phillip Iya, participated in the regional conference on the abolition and/or moratorium on the death penalty organised from 13 - 14 January 2014 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The conference which was organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the organisation Let Nobody Touch Cain was attended by a large number of participants.

    28. During the two-day conference, participants discussed the death penalty, shared best practices and launched a parliamentary platform against the death penalty towards its complete abolition on the continent.

     

    b.     Participation in a meeting of experts organised by the UN Special  Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

    29. As part of the collaboration between the mechanisms of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the Working Group, represented by Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel, participated in a meeting of experts organised in Geneva on 27 February 2014 by Professor Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (the Special Rapporteur).  

    30. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the draft report prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the use of force by law enforcement officials. The outcome of this meeting was taken into account in the report (A/HRC/26/36) which the Special Rapporteur presented to the Human Rights Council on 1 April 2014.

     

    c.      Meeting of the Working Group, 5 - 6 March 2014, Banjul, The Gambia

    31. The Working Group held a meeting from 5 - 6 March 2014 in Banjul, The Gambia. The objective of the meeting was to prepare the organisation of the Continental Conference on the Death Penalty scheduled from 9 - 11 June 2014 in Benin, continue the drafting of the Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa, and finalise the Working Group’s 2014-2016 Work Plan.  

     
     B.     Urgent Appeals

    32.  During the intersession, I sent an Urgent Appeal to H.E. the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 31 December 2013 on the extrajudicial and summary killings by police officers of about twenty people including minors during the Operation Likofi dubbed “eradicating street crime” which was launched by the Congolese police in November 2013. The appeal was sent urging the Government of the DRC to put an immediate end to such killings and all acts that may endanger the lives and physical integrity of Congolese citizens, and to conduct investigations into the events reported towards prosecuting the perpetrators.

    33.
    On 17 April 2014, I sent an Urgent Appeal to the Egyptian authorities regarding the death sentences pronounced on 24 March 2014 by the Minieh Assize Court against 529 people of the Muslim Brotherhood loyal to President Mohamed Morsi. In the letter, I urged the Egyptian authorities to take the necessary measures to implement the Commission’s Resolution ACHPR/Res.136 (XXXX1111)08 urging States Parties to the African Charter to observe a moratorium on the death penalty and to fully engage in protecting human rights enshrined in the country’s Constitution, as well as implement Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law, including by giving the sentenced prisoners the possibility to appeal against the ruling and ensuring a fair trial.

    34.
    Regarding this situation, and in accordance with Rule 98 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission sent a request for Provisional Measures to the Government of Egypt on 25 April 2014 calling on the latter to suspend the death sentence against the 529 people of the Muslim Brotherhood, considering that a complaint on their behalf has been received at the Commission

    C.   
    Statements/Press releases

    35.
    On 25 March 2014, I issued a press release following the execution of three individuals by death squad in the Federal Republic of Somalia. In the press statement, I strongly condemned these executions and reiterated our appeal to the Government of Somalia to observe a moratorium on the death penalty. I also called on the Somali authorities to take the appropriate measures to ensure that prisoners sentenced to death are not executed.

    36.
    On 10 April 2014, I issued a press release condemning the killing of innocent Kenyan civilians by suspected Al-Shabab militia during grenade attacks in several parts of Nairobi and Mombasa, including a place of worship, the killing of Cheikh Abubakar Shariff in early April in Mombasa by armed men on board a vehicle, and the killing of Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar and Aboud Rogo Mohammed. I urged the Government of Kenya to conduct independent investigations into the killings in order to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.


    Part 3: The Situation of Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa

    Introduction

    1. The current mandate of the Working Group on the death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings in Africa (the Working Group) was adopted by the Commission at its 52nd Ordinary Session in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, in October 2013 (Resolution ACHPR/Res.227 (LII) 2012 on the expansion of the mandate of the Working Group on Death Penalty in Africa to include issues of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings) and renewed at its 54th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia, in November 2013 (Resolution 251). The mandate of the Working Group covers the death penalty as well as all instances of killing that brings into question unlawfulness on the part of a State under international law, entailing international human rights law as well as international humanitarian law.[2]

     38    The Working Group reports on the issues falling within its mandate to the Commission on a bi-annual basis, during the Commission’s Ordinary Sessions, in terms of Rule 72 of the Rules of  Procedure, and following the template which was adopted by the Commission at its 54th Ordinary Session.[3] The Working Group will report on events occurring during the intersession, as well as prior events brought to its attention during this period.

     

    1. Death Penalty

     

    1. As of April 2014, seventeen (17) State Parties to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights have abolished the death penalty by way of enacting a national legislation.[4] The Working Group is pleased to note that, during the intersession, Guinea-Bissau and Gabon ratified and Angola signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A further twenty-five State Parties have not carried out an execution for ten years[5]. The Working Group calls on those of these States who have not done so already to establish a moratorium as a progressive step toward abolition.

     

    1. Issuing a statement on the 11th World Day Against the Death Penalty, the Commission encouraged States observing a moratorium on the use of the death penalty to take legal steps towards its abolition, urged countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty to impose a moratorium on the execution of prisoners on death row by commuting their death sentences to life in prison, and called on all Member States that have not yet done so to ratify human rights instruments prohibiting the death penalty, in particular the Second Optional Protocol, and to harmonise their national laws accordingly.[6] The Working Group notes that in October 2013 the World Medical Association, concerned at the role of physicians in capital punishment, supported the suspension of the death penalty through a global moratorium.[7]

     

    1. The Working Group welcomes progress that has been made across the continent during the intersession. The Working Group welcomes the resentencing of more than 150 death row inmates in Uganda[8] in November 2013. The Working Group reaffirms the view expressed by the Minister of Justice of Zimbabwe in October that the time to abolish the death penalty is overdue. The Working Group also notes that, after the overturning of five capital sentences in 2013, the Government of Botswana has expressed a willingness to open a “national dialogue” on the question of abolition, in line with the UPR recommendation it accepted earlier in January 2013.

     

    Concerns

     

    1. Despite this progress there remain causes of concern. The Working Group is alarmed by the continued imposition of the death penalty for offenses which do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”. In October 2013 new legislation was signed in Nigeria imposing the death penalty for anybody involved in any form of kidnapping. Throughout the intersession there were proposals in several African States concerning the imposition of the death penalty for certain homosexual relations. In March Amnesty International published its annual survey of the death penalty worldwide, observing that 64 people were executed in Africa in 2013, a significant increase over the year before.[9]

     

    1. The Working Group is concerned about capital sentences being handed down by military tribunals[10]. It is also cause for concern that not all States make information about executions public.  

     

    1. The Working Group is also concerned by the executions taking place in Somalia: both those conducted by non-state actors (Al Shabaab) in Buloburte in September, as well as the execution of Aden Sheikh Abdi in Mogadishu in August. Abdi was convicted by a military tribunal of murdering the journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge. Combating impunity for attacks against journalists and strengthening the rule of law need not amount to firing squads.

     

    1. The mass-sentencing in Egypt of 529 people in March and a further 683 on the eve of this Session, has prompted condemnation from various international observers of human rights as an ‘outrageous’ perversion of justice.

     

     B. Extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings


    Armed Conflict


    1. International law permits States to take life in the context of armed conflict only with the limits of safeguards for the right to life. It is important that International Humanitarian Law be seen as a complement, rather than a replacement of Human Rights Law. The Working Group continues to consider violations of the right to life during armed conflict.

     

    1. The Working Group is extremely concerned by the loss of thousands of lives in inter-communal violence that has continued in the Central African Republic. Grave abuses have been committed by both groups of former-Séléka rebel fighters and the so-called anti-balaka Christian groups, with attacks clearly being targeted against entire communities based on ethnic or religious identity.[11] 

     

    1. The Working Group is also concerned by the situation that soldiers were involved in counter-insurgency in Jonglei State where targeting and extrajudicial execution of the members of the Murle ethnic group resulted in more than 100 victims.[12] The killing of civilians by armed groups on the basis of ethnic or religious identity is a clear violation of both International Humanitarian Law and International and regional Human Rights Law. Fortunately, documentation of the killing of civilians, sexual violence, torture and the use of child soldiers has been documented by international and domestic organisations that could aid the quest for justice.[13] Through its Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of South Sudan (ACHPR/Res.265(EXT.OS/XV) 2014), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have also stressed the need for South Sudan to cooperate with the South Sudan Commission of Inquiry in order to identify perpetrators of the atrocities and hold them accountable.


    1. The Working Group was also concerned by reports of renewed ground and air attacks against civilians in Darfur. Some estimate that these attacks, along with associated destruction of property and looting of livestock, have led to the displacement of 200,000 people in 2014 alone.[14]



    Excessive Use of Force

     

    1. International standards regarding the use of force most clearly the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, make clear that lethal force may only be used to protect life: the use of lethal force to clear even an unauthorised public gathering is unlawful unless lives are threatened. In Egypt, international and domestic rights groups report that since the removal of President Morsi in early July, there have been dozens of separate incidents in which police or security forces have used lethal force to break up demonstrations or sit-ins. Estimates at the loss of life vary broadly, but range in the thousands. The Working Group affirms that the declaration of a state of emergency does not in any way limit the responsibilities of States to respect the right to life[15]. In line with the Resolution of the Human Rights Situation in the Arab Republic of Egypt (ACHPR/Res.240 (EXT.OS/XIV) 2013), the Working Group further calls on the Egyptian authorities ensure they do not issue public statements appearing to sanction excessive force, and that they conduct full investigations into situations where this may have occurred.


    1. The Working Group was disappointed to observe efforts in Kenya to undermine the progress of police reform and the strong protections of the right to life in the Police Service Act (2011) by giving license to use lethal force in defence of property.[16]



    Deaths of Particular Vulnerable Groups


    1. The Working Group monitors patterns of violence against particular vulnerable groups, such as journalists, human rights defenders or humanitarian aid workers, especially where such killings reflect a culture of impunity.
    1. The Working Group notes that, according to a leading observer of journalist-safety, seven journalists were killed in Africa during the intersession.[17]

     54      On 26 April 2014, 16 people including three Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) were killed by an armed group in a main hospital in the Northern town of Boguila, Central African Republic (CAR). Two foreign consultants working with UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) were also killed in Somalia in April. .

     

    Private Killings

    1. In addition to instances where a State is directly responsible for an unlawful killing, the Working Group also considers patterns or trends of killing which suggest State parties may not sufficiently be protecting the right to life (either preventatively or by holding perpetrators accountable). This includes phenomena such as honour killing, infanticide, ritual murder, albinos killing, vigilante killing or mob justice.

     56.    The Working Group was concerned by evidence presented in a report published in December regarding sectarian violence in the Plateau and Kaduna states of central Nigeria, alleged to have involved the killing more than 3,000 people since 2010. In its Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria (ACHPR/Res.267 (EXT.OS/XV)2014, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights estimate that more than 100,000 civilians have been killed and over 900,000 others displaced. Many of the victims were hacked to death, burned alive, or shot, simply based on their ethnic or religious identity.[18]

     

    1. There were a number of instances of vigilante killings conducted in townships in South Africa, where many feel that the service provided by the police is insufficient to combat the threats posed by violent crime and gangsterism. It is a fundamental principle of the rule of law and the protection of the right to life, that justice remain a state function, with due process ensured, and that governments resist calls for “immediate justice”.

     

    1. The Working Group is also concerned about the continued discrimination including death being meted out against persons living with albinism particularly around the Great Lakes region States of Tanzania and Burundi.[19]

     

     

    Other issues of unlawful killing and the need for accountability

     

    1. Accountability is a fundamental element of the protection of any human right: all the time that there can be impunity for arbitrary killing, the right to life will never be fully secure in Africa. The Working Group welcomes government initiatives like the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CDVR in Côte d’Ivoire established to investigate and redress the violations of human rights that took place after elections in 2010; and the establishment in December of a Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia, designed to investigate serious violations of the right to life and other rights since 1955. The working group applauds the Tunisian Parliament for giving this Commission a strong mandate.

     

    1. The Working Group is also aware that the right to life is endangered in Africa by non-state actors. Terrorist attacks, for example, continue to pose a potent threat. The death of more than sixty people at the “Westgate” mall in Nairobi, Kenya gave this issue continental and global exposure, but people were also killed in attacks in Nigeria and in Somalia[20].

     

    1. The working Group reminds everyone that the responsibility to protect the right to life is a collective responsibility; everybody should keep that in mind and prevent the further violation of that fundamental right.   

     

    Conclusion and Recommendations

     

    62. Following the above analysis on the situation of the death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings in Africa, I wish to make the following recommendations to the various stakeholders:

     

    State Parties:

     

    -      Establish, for countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty, a moratorium on capital punishment and start the process of its abolition;

     

    -      Ensure the effective protection of persons faced or threatened with extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings;

     

    -      Adopt effective measures to combat and put an end to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings in their territories;

     

    -      Ratify, for countries that have not yet done so, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and amend their national laws accordingly;

     

    -      Respond favourably to the Urgent Appeals sent by the Working Group.

     

    Civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders:

     

    -      Advocate at the national level for the complete abolition of the death penalty.

     

    Other partners:

     

    -      Provide support to the Working Group to enable the latter to effectively implement its mandate.

     



    [1] Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Human Rights Centre of the University of Pretoria, Mr Charles Moyer, former First Secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Mr Attila Teplan, personnel at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights.

    [2] This is analogous to the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. See resolution 17/5 of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/RES/17/5).

    [3] Final Communique of the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (5 November 2013) 30(vi).

    [4] Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Togo. 

    [5] Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Zambia.

    [6] ‘Statement by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on World Day against the Death Penalty (10 October 2013) [http://www.achpr.org/press/2013/10/d177].

    [7] Resolution of the World Medical Association (October 2013) [http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/ 10policies/p8/].

    [8] http://amnestyalgerie.org/rapports/ACT_50_001_2014_ext_fra%20WEB.pdf, page 13

    [9] Amnesty International Death Sentences and Executions 2013 (2014). More than 90% of these executions took place in three countries: Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

    [10] Currently, Somalia is most affected and a number of death penalties have been carried out during the intersession including by a firing squad pursuant to military tribunals sentences.

    [11]African Union ‘The African Union stresses the imperative of the restoration of public order and the protection of the civilian population in the Central African Republic’ (6 December 2013) [http://www.peaceau. org/uploads/auc.com.car.6.12.2013.pdf].

    [12] Human Rights Watch They Are Killing Us: Abuses Against Civilians in South Sudan’s Pibor County (2013) [http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0913_ForUpload_3.pdf].

    [13] See generally the Open letter to the Members if the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) from South Sudanese Civil Society Organisations ‘Condemn rights violations, support the Commission of Inquiry and Help build a culture of human rights in South Sudan’ (6 March 2014).

    [14] Human Rights Watch ‘Sudan: Renewed attacks on civilians in Darfur’ (21 March 2014) [http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/21/sudan-renewed-attacks-civilians-darfur]; Satellite Sentinel Project ‘Bombed and Burned: Darfuri civilians flee East Jebel Marra en masse’ (27 March 2014) [http://www.satsentinel.org/report/bombed-burned-darfuri-civilians-flee-east-jebel-marra-en-masse]

    [15]Art.4(2), ICCPR; Principle 8, Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms.

    [16] National Police Service (Amendment) Bill (2013).

    [17]Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Database [http://www.cpj.org/killed/2013/]. This included one killed in Egypt; two in Mali, two in Somalia, one in Libya and one in DRC. These were what CPJ refers to as “motive confirmed” killings, where there is persuasive evidence the journalist was targeted as a result of his/her profession.

    [18]Human Rights Watch “Leave Everything to God”: Accountability for Inter-Communal Violence in Plateau and Kaduna States, Nigeria (2013) [http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/nigeria1213_ForUpload.pdf].

    [19] UNGA Persons with albinism - Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (12 September

    2013); AP ‘Albinos in East Africa fear for lives after killings’ (28

    November 2009) [http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34182250/#.Up89nhZiPGJ]; ICRC Through albino eyes - The plight of albino people in Africa’s Great Lakes region and a Red Cross response - Advocacy report [http://www.ifrc.org/Global/Publications/general/177800-Albinos-Report-EN.pdf]

     

    [20] African Union ‘The African Union strongly condemns the dastardly terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in Nairobi’ (21 September 2013) [http://www.peaceau.org/uploads/au-statement-on-nairobikenya-attacks.pdf].

     

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