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إدارة الموقع

5 Rulings On The Need To Amend Penal Codes In African Countries

S.A. / English Version: Med.B.
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5 Rulings On The Need To Amend Penal Codes In African Countries

The 71st ordinary session of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which has been held in Algiers since November 7, issued five rulings on cases that occurred in Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, calling for the need to amend the penal code of some African countries with regard to the death penalty.
On the sidelines of the session, the closing session on Monday at the International Conference Center “Abdellatif Rahal”, chaired by Imani Daoud Abboud, the Judge of the African Court, Shafiqa Ben Saoula, explained that the focus was on the issue of the death penalty because some countries on the continent “do not give the judge the authority”, in applying mitigating circumstances to the accused, the penal code confirms that the death penalty is mandatory for some crimes and the judge must apply it.”
This procedure – Ben Saoula adds – “is contrary to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and that is why the African Court decided to ask the countries concerned to amend the penal code so that the judge has the power to apply mitigating circumstances to the death penalty,” pointing out that this problem does not arise in Algeria because the Algerian judge “has the power of discretion. He does not impose the death penalty on the perpetrator if there are mitigating circumstances”.
As for the Tunisian judge Rafi Ben Achour, he confirmed in a statement that “the judge in some countries does not have any margin of discretion to assess the circumstances of the crime and applies the law mechanically and compulsorily to impose the death penalty, which the African Court considers to be in violation of Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. And peoples who affirm the right to life”.
For reference, the headquarters of the African Court is located in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, and the Court consists of 11 judges who are citizens of member states of the African Union, elected in their personal capacity, knowing that the Court meets four times a year in regular sessions and may hold an extraordinary session.
The 71st ordinary session of the Court included several activities, including the Sixth African Judicial Dialogue, which was held in Algiers from 20 to 22 November.
Members of the Continental Court also made numerous visits to Algerian authorities and institutions, including the National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Community Abroad, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the National Council for Human Rights, as well as to the National Union of Lawyers’ Organizations in Algeria, in order to raise awareness of the Court’s mandate and functions.

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