Death Penalty: ending a moratorium, between security opportunism and settling of scores

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For the second World Congress against the death penalty (Montreal 6-9 October 2004), the FIDH is publishing a report on the death penalty in Chad following an international mission of investigation which was carried out in May 2004. The report was presented to the Chad authorities on Friday 8 October by a delegation from the FIDH.

Whilst the Chad authorities had not carried out any more executions since 1991, which was considered a de facto moratorium, nine executions took place on the 8th and 9th November 2003.

Lifting this moratorium led the members of the FIDH mission to conduct a detailed analysis of the proceedings leading to the death penalty. The report is damning, showing a system of justice which attaches little importance to regional and international instruments for the protection of human rights ratified by Chad. The case was conducted with a haste wholly incompatible with the respect for the right to a fair trial - proceedings exclusively for the prosecution, confessions obtained under torture, refusal to take account of evidence brought by the defence during the investigation, no lawyer present during the investigation stage. This iniquitous trial proves the hypothesis that justice has been manipulated in order to hide the true nature of a crime and the identity of its perpetrators, whilst securing the executions of persons judged undesirable.

« This investigation confirms the previous report by the FIDH concerning the administration of justice in Chad: the authorities show complete disinterest and are not taking any concrete measures to improve the justice system. The Convention of Justice of 2003, to which the Chadian associations for the defence of Human Rights were contributors and in which the FIDH had placed some hope, did not bring about any changes», regretted Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH.

« Since the mission was carried out, 19 persons have been sentenced to death, which brings to twenty the number of prisoners awaiting execution. However, the deterrent nature of the death penalty remains to be seen and it is contradictory to the very essence of the concepts of freedom and human dignity », added Dobian Asingar, President of the Chadian League of Human Rights and Vice-President of the FIDH.

The FIDH makes the following recommendations for the attention of the Chadian authorities:

1.Put an immediate end to the executions by adopting a moratorium, followed, as soon as possible, by an act abolishing the death penalty

2.Investigate every allegation of torture and pursue those responsible whilst also prohibiting the production in court of evidence obtained through torture or any other inhumane or degrading process, as required by the United Nations Convention against Torture.

3.Take the steps necessary for the right to a fair trial, as recognised by the international and regional instruments binding on Chad, to be fully respected.

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