Urgent resolution on Togo

Press release
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23-27 May 2013
Istambul (Turkey)

Presented by the Ligue Togolaise des Droits de l’Homme

Considering the fire that broke out in major markets in Lomé and Kara in January 2013 in Togo;
Considering the important failings in the legal procedures to investigate this case, and the number of charges and arrests, mainly affecting members of the oppositions’ political party;
Considering the acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments that some detainees declared they were subjected to, and that apparentely caused the death of the detainee Etienne YAKANOU, activist of the opposition political party ANC – Alliance Nationale pour le Changement;
Considering that the health of most of the detainees has been greatly deteriorated due to bad detention conditions ;
Considering that most of the person indicted are being detained in centres other than Lomé civil prisons and that these prisons are not under the control of the Prosecutor’s office, which means secret detention that can expose the accused persons to all sorts of ill treatment;
More generally, considering the report commissioned by CNDH Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme (the national human rights commission) on allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment inflicted by the accused, during the trial on the attempted attack on the security of the State of Togo;
Considering that the exemplarity of the punishment is meant to prevent repetition of human rights violations and that an effective fight against impunity must include penal charges against the perpetrators of such crimes;
Moreover, considering that a judicial proceeding has been introduced by victims of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments and is pending before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in order to restore their rights;
Considering that as part of the logic on putting an end to the increasing impunity in Togo, on 25 February 2009, the Government set up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR) to elucidate massive violations of human rights and politically-based violence in Togo between 1958 and 2005;
Considering that, on 3 April 2013, the CVJR, remitted its final mission report to the President of Togo, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe;
Considering the involvement of FIDH ad its Togolese member association, the Ligue Togolaise des Droits de l’Homme (LTDH) in the fight against torture and the truth, justice and reconciliation process;

FIDH, at its 38th world congress, held in Istanbul, Turkey:
 Condemns the ongoing practice of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Togo;
 Urges the Togolese authorities to take all necessary steps to launch legal proceedings against all perpetrators of crimes of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
 Calls upon the Togolese authorities to respect the independence of the judiciary, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence of persons accused in application of current legal procedures, in particular in compliance with the principle that detention should be the exception;
 Calls upon the Togolese authorities to respect the regional and international conventions on the defence of human rights, to which Togo is a party, in particular the International Convention against Torture and other forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, and invites the Special Rapporteur on Torture, of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to come to Togo;
 Asks the Togolese authorities to free the victims of torture that are still detained (in the case of threats to State secuirty;
 Asks the Togolese authorities to publish the report of the French experts on the fires that occurred in January 2013 and to release all those arbitrarily incarcerated in connection with this case;
 Asks for the implementation of an international investigative commision to establish responsabilities;
 Asks the Togolese authorities to implement all the recommendations of the reports by the Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme (CNDH) and the Commission Vérité, Justice et Réconciliation (CVJR) in order to put an end to torture, and in order to effectively fight impunity, compensate the victims, adopt adequate constitutional and institutional reforms so as to strengthen the rule of law and consolidate national reconciliation in Togo.

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