Madoui v. Algeria
Right to Know the Truth | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Burden of Proof | Deprivation of Liberty | Judicial Protection | Juridical Personality | Refusal to Disclose Fate | Relatives as Victims
The Committee made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim's disappearance. It also made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim’s mother, noting the anguish and distress that the disappearance caused her. The Committee also held that the victim's arrest and subsequent incommunicado detention were arbitrary and illegal, finding a violation of the victim's right to liberty and security. Finally, the Committee found a violation of the victim's right to be recognised as a person before the law, recalling that if a person is arrested by the authorities and there is subsequently no news of their fate, the authorities’ failure to provide information effectively places the disappeared person outside the protection of the law.
October 28, 2008
Article 2(3) [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR], Article 16 [ICCPR]
Facts of the Case
In March 1997, Mr. Menouar Madoui was arrested and detained by gendarmes for failure to produce identity documents during a check. He was released after being held for 13 days at the gendarmerie. In May 1997, the police, the army and the gendarmerie carried out a sweeping operation, searching houses and making many arrests. On that day, Mr. Madoui went to the main mosque and never returned home. The next day Mr. Madoui's mother went to look for him, and was told that the day before four men had been arrested by plain-clothed police outside the mosque, and that they were handcuffed and put in an unmarked car. Mr. Madoui's mother asked a number of authorities about her son's whereabouts without obtaining any useful information, until a member of the legitimate defence group told her that he was being held at the operational command headquarters. Mr. Madoui's mother went there every day to try to see him, but every day the officers gave her a different answer. After forty days, she was told that Mr. Madoui would probably be released the following day, but a senior officer threatened her to leave and beat her. An investigation into the disappearance was launched but later closed in January 2000. Over the years, Mr. Madoui's family was told by a number of witnesses that he had been held in prison, but was never allowed a visiting permit.