Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section B. Trial by an independent, impartial and regularly constituted court
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers):
I.2. Protection of combatants and associated personnel
A person hors de combat must be collected and protected in conformity with the provisions of Geneva Convention I for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick. In this respect, they must not be the object:
- of the passing of sentences and the carrying out of a penalty without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court.
In 2013, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Côte d’Ivoire stated:
1. The Abidjan Military Tribunal
451. There is only one military tribunal in Côte d’Ivoire. This is a special court for members of the Armed Forces whose prosecuting magistrate and four jurors are also military personnel. Only the President is a civilian magistrate, seconded from the Abidjan Court of Appeal.
453. In peacetime it is competent, when the accused are all military personnel, to try:
– Military offences defined by the Criminal Code when they are unconnected with any infractions falling within the purview of other courts;
– National security offences;
– Any offence committed either during service or whilst in service (this does not apply to non-military offences committed by the military personnel of the gendarmerie while discharging their functions as a civilian judicial police force or administrative police force), or whilst maintaining order, or within a military establishment.
454. If even one civilian is suspected of having committed an infraction with a group of military personnel, the ordinary courts will have exclusive competence.
455. In wartime, this rule is reversed and the military tribunal becomes competent to try civilians, even when no military personnel are involved. The military tribunal becomes a court of first and last instance: no appeal is possible against its rulings, as with assize court judgements.