Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Djibouti’s Disciplinary Regulations (1982) states: “It is prohibited for combatants to … commit violence to the life and person of … prisoners and civilians, including all forms of … torture and cruel and inhumane treatment”.
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states that “torture … , cruel treatment [and] … outrages upon personal dignity (humiliating and degrading treatment) are prohibited”.
The manual also states: “The fundamental principles concerning detention are as follows: do not use torture or degrading treatment [and] … respect the dignity of the person.”
The manual further states: “Acts prohibited in circumstances of armed conflict [include] torture [and] … corporal punishment (chastisement).”
The manual further provides that the following “are currently considered as war crimes … if committed against any person not or no longer participating in hostilities: … torture [and] … inhuman treatment”.
The manual also provides:
No law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate an act of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment nor may he invoke … exceptional circumstances such as a state of war or a threat of war, a threat against national security, internal political instability or another exceptional state [of affairs] in order to justify torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The manual also states with regard to “children in the justice system” that “torture and ill-treatment are prohibited”.
The manual further states: “Women have … the right under IHL to certain forms of protection specific to their sex, namely the following: … Protection of civilians against … degrading treatment”.
In 1998, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Djibouti stated: “By law, the child enjoys the same protection against torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as any person.”
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Djibouti stated: “Criminal legislation provides for sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment for torture or acts of barbarism (art. 324); it is an aggravating circumstance when the victim is a minor under 15 years of age (art. 325).”
In 2010, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Djibouti stated:
46. Following independence in 1977, Djibouti experienced a difficult period of internal tension, which led to a visible, steady rise in violations of human rights and individual freedoms. This state of affairs reached its height during the civil war between government forces and the armed opposition of the Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie [Front for the restoration of unity and democracy] (FRUD).
47. With the signing of peace agreement between the warring parties in 1994 and again in 2001, the human rights situation improved dramatically. …
50. … [A]ctions have been taken to abolish torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. These include:
- The dismantling of Villa Christophe, the infamous detention centre where, in the past, anyone suspected of engaging in subversive political activity or holding anti-government views was systematically tortured;
- Efforts to eliminate … ill-treatment in police stations, military police barracks and army and other camps, through a policy of staff training and awareness raising on human rights;
82. Article 40 of the 1992 Constitution provides that
when the institutions of the Republic, the independence of the nation, the integrity of its territory or the fulfilment of its international commitments are threatened and the regular functioning of the governmental authorities is interrupted, the President of the Republic may, after consulting the President of the National Assembly and the President of the Constitutional Council and after informing the nation in a message, take any measure, except for a constitutional amendment, designed to restore the regular functioning of the governmental authorities and ensure the safeguarding of the nation.
Within 15 days of their promulgation, the National Assembly, convening as of right, is seized of the legislative measures put into effect by the President, with a view to their ratification.
83. These exceptional measures cannot justify violations of the right to … physical and psychological integrity … accorded to individuals. In theory, their application must be in keeping with administrative legality and human rights.
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, under the heading “Basic rules of IHL” and in a section on “Treatment”, stated that “torture and cruel or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited”.
In 2011, in the History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, under the heading “[O]ffences related to violations of humanitarian law”, listed “torture and inhumane treatment”.
Under the heading “Codes and wisdom”, the ministry also stated: “Humiliation is prohibited.”
The ministry further stated that “one of the objectives of the judicial system is to prevent abuse by demonstrating that violations such as … torture … will not go unpunished (fear of prosecution).”