Allioua and Kerouane v. Algeria

Legal Relevance

Keywords: Right to Know the Truth | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute | Interim/Urgent Measures | Children/Youth | Deprivation of Liberty | Judicial Protection | Juridical Personality | Refusal to Disclose Fate | Relatives as Victims

Themes: Persons and Groups Affected | Related Crimes

The Committee found that the State had failed in its duty to protect the victim's life, reaffirming that in cases of enforced disappearance the unacknowledged deprivation of liberty removes the person from the protection of the law and places his/her life at serious and constant risk. The Committee made a finding of inhuman treatment both with respect to the victims, in light of the suffering involved in being held indefinitely without contact with the outside world and of the allegations of torture suffered by one of them, and with respect to their family, due to the anguish and distress caused by their disappearance and by the uncertainty as to their fate. The Committee further found a violation of the victims' right to liberty and security as they were not informed of the criminal charges against them, were not brought before a judge, and no official information was given to their family regarding their whereabouts. The Committee concluded that the victims' incommunicado detention amounted to a violation of the right of persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and dignity, and that they were deprived of their right to recognition as a person before the law. Finally, in light of the fact that the State took no account of the fact that two of the victims were minors at the time of their arrest, the Committee found a violation of the children's rights to special protection, which requires the adoption of special measures in addition to those that States are normally required to take to ensure that everyone enjoys the rights provided in the Covenant.

Judgment Date

October 30, 2014



Judicial Body

Human Rights Committee

Articles violated

Article 2(3) [ICCPR], Article 6 [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR], Article 10(1) [ICCPR], Article 16 [ICCPR], Article 24(1) [ICCPR]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 10(2) [ICCPR], Article 23 [ICCPR]

Facts of the Case

Messrs. Adel, Tarek and Mohamed Kerouane disappeared between 1994 and 1996 in different circumstances. In April 1994 Mr. Adel Kerouane was injured by security officials who opened fire after he had attempted a burglary. He was taken to hospital, where he was initially visited by his father, but disappeared after a couple of weeks. A member of the hospital staff told his father that he had been taken away by the security services. Mr. Tarek Kerouane, aged 16, was stopped by law enforcement officials in May 1994 on his way home. The next day he was taken home for a search by a group of police officers, but was not released. Two weeks after his disappearance, his grandmother overheard a phone conversation between militaries saying that Tarek was being held at a prison. In July 1994, two visiting permits were issued to the family of the disappeared, stating that Adel and Tarek Kerouane were under arrest in prison. However, on the day of the visit, the prison guards told their relatives that they were not being held there, and behaved in a threatening manner telling them that it would be in their interests not to come back. In June 1995, a court charged Adel and Tarek Kerouane with premeditated murder and membership of a terrorist group, stating that “the suspects are still at large despite the call for their arrest”.

Mr. Mohamed Kerouane, aged 15, was arrested in the street in February 1996, together with a friend. The friend, who was released a month later, told his family that he and Mohamed had been detained by officials of the gendarmerie. A gendarmerie officer told the family that “some people came for” Mohamed while he was detained. Three months after the arrest, the family received information that Mohamed’s body had been recognized in a pile of bodies at the side of a road. According to a witness, the way the body was dressed suggested he had been in prison. The family has not been able to see the body or verify Mohamed’s death, and does not know where he is buried. Between 1999 and 2001, the victims’ family was informed on several instances that Adel and Tarek were “wanted by the security services" while Mohamed was not wanted and was never been arrested. In 2004, the Ad Hoc Commission on Disappearances tried to persuade the victims' family to renounce their claim to obtain the truth about the fate of the disappeared. Over the years, the victims' family received a number of contradicting certificates of death and disappearance for the three victims. Despite all the victims' family's efforts, no effective investigation has been undertaken to shed light on the disappearances. In 2012, the Human Rights Committee granted protection measures requested and asked the State to refrain from invoking domestic legislation against the victims’ family.

View Resource

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it.

Download PDF

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it.

Download PDF

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it.

Download PDF

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it.

Download PDF