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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Torture in Africa

The torture prevention database tracks progress on signatures and ratifications, by African States, of the two major instruments against torture, namely the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT) and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT),which establishes international and national visiting mechanisms to places of deprivation of liberty in order prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

We also list, to the best of our knowledge, the measures in national law taken by African States to criminalize torture: according to article 4 of the CAT, each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.



Criminalization of Torture

States which have legislation criminalizing torture 15
States which have no legislation criminalizing torture or whose status is unknown 40

CAT & OPCAT

Ratified CAT and OPCAT 22
Ratified CAT 28
Signed CAT or OPCAT 2
Not signed or ratified CAT and OPCAT 3

Torture Database Table

Country UNCAT Signed UNCAT Ratified/Acceded OPCAT Signed OPCAT Ratified/acceded Criminalization Of Torture Penalty
Algeria November 26 , 1985 September 12 , 1989 Art 263 bis Criminal Code 5-10 years of imprisonment
Angola September 24 , 2013 September 24 , 2013
Benin March 12 , 1992 February 24 , 2005 September 20 , 2006
Botswana September 08 , 2000 September 08 , 2000
Burkina Faso January 04 , 1999 September 21 , 2005 July 07 , 2010 May 2014, Burkina Faso has adopted legislation criminalising torture Article 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act 2013 maximum sentence life imprisonment 3-5 years imprisonment
Burundi February 18 , 1993 October 18 , 2013 Art 196, 197, 200 – 209 Law n°1/05 of 22/04/2009 on the modification of the penal code 10-15 years imprisonment. 20 years or life imprisonment depending on aggravating circumstances
Cameroon December 19 , 1986 December 15 , 2009 Art 132 Penal Code Life imprisonment or terms of imprisonment and a fine depending on aggravating circumstances or effects of the torture on the victim.
Cape Verde June 04 , 1992 September 26 , 2011 April 01 , 2016
Central African Republic October 11 , 2016 October 11 , 2016
Chad June 09 , 1995 September 26 , 2012
Comoros September 22 , 2000 May 25 , 2017
Congo July 30 , 2003 September 29 , 2008
Cote d'Ivoire December 18 , 1995
Democratic Republic of the Congo March 18 , 1996 September 23 , 2010 Bill passed by Parliament
Djibouti May 11 , 2002
Egypt June 25 , 1986 Art 126 Penal Code 3-10 years imprisonment
Equatorial Guinea October 08 , 2002 Art 3 Act No. 6/2006 on the Prevention of and Disciplinary Measures against Torture Prison terms between six months and six years, a fine of 300.000 CFA and a ban from holding public office for twice the period of imprisonment
Eritrea September 25 , 2014
Eswatini March 26 , 2004
Ethiopia March 14 , 1994
Gabon January 21 , 1986 September 08 , 2000 December 15 , 2004 September 22 , 2010
Gambia October 23 , 1985 August 28 , 2018
Ghana September 07 , 2000 September 07 , 2000 November 06 , 2006 September 23 , 2016
Guinea May 30 , 1986 October 10 , 1989 September 16 , 2005
Guinea-Bissau September 12 , 2000 September 24 , 2013 September 24 , 2013
Kenya February 21 , 1997 Article 5 of the 12 April 2017 the Prevention of Torture Act criminalises torture Article 5(1) of the Prevention of Torture Act 2017 maximum sentence 25 years. Article 5(2) if it results in death person is liable to life imprisonment
Lesotho November 12 , 2001
Liberia September 22 , 2004 September 22 , 2004
Libya May 16 , 1989
Madagascar October 01 , 2001 December 13 , 2005 September 24 , 2003 September 21 , 2017 Art 2, 10-12 Law n°08/2008 of 25 June 2008 on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment 2-5 years imprisonment. From 5 years to life imprisonment depending on aggravating circumstances
Malawi June 11 , 1996
Mali February 26 , 1999 January 19 , 2004 May 12 , 2005
Mauritania November 17 , 2004 September 27 , 2011 October 03 , 2012 9 September 2015, Mauritania adopted Law No. 033-2015 which criminalises torture
Mauritius December 09 , 1992 June 21 , 2005 Art 78 Criminal Code 5 years imprisonment
Morocco January 08 , 1986 June 21 , 1993 November 24 , 2014
Mozambique September 14 , 1999 July 01 , 2014
Namibia November 28 , 1994
Niger July 05 , 1998 November 07 , 2014
Nigeria July 28 , 1988 June 28 , 2001 July 27 , 2009
Rwanda December 15 , 2008 June 30 , 2015 Article 112 of the Law Nº68/2018 of 30/08/2018 Determing Offences and Penalties in General, prohibits torture Article 113 of the Law Nº68/2018 establishes the penalty for torture of between 20 years and 25 years. If torture results in an incurable illness, permanent incapacity to work, full loss of function of an organ or mutilation of any key body organ, death or is committed by a public official in his/her duties, the penalty is life imprisonment.
Sao Tome and Principe September 06 , 2000 January 10 , 2017
Senegal February 04 , 1985 August 21 , 1996 February 04 , 2003 October 18 , 2006 Art 296-1 Penal Code
Seychelles May 05 , 1992
Sierra Leone March 18 , 1985 April 25 , 2001 September 26 , 2003
Somalia January 24 , 1990
South Africa January 29 , 1993 October 12 , 1998 September 20 , 2006 Article 4 of the 29 July 2013 Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act 2013 criminalises torture Article 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act 2013 maximum sentence life imprisonment
South Sudan April 30 , 2015 April 30 , 2015
Sudan June 04 , 1986
Togo March 25 , 1987 November 18 , 1987 September 15 , 2005 July 20 , 2010
Tunisia August 26 , 1987 September 23 , 1988 June 29 , 2011 Art 101 Penal Code 8 years imprisonment
Uganda November 03 , 1986
Zambia October 27 , 1998 September 27 , 2010