Death Penalty Database

Algeria

Information current as of: April 10, 2011

General

Official Country Name

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria (Algeria). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Northern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
(firing squad). [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Algeria, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/8005.htm, Feb. 17, 2011.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Algérie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=21, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort dans le monde: Algérie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[4] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Abolir… Edition 2007, Rapport annuel de l’association ECPM pour l’abolition universelle de la peine de mort, p. 62, Ed. ECPM, 2007; Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 221, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic. [1]

Population

36,300,000. (January 2011 official government est.). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

At least 943, though many persons under sentence of death were convicted in absentia and may not be currently imprisoned in Algeria.

It is very difficult to provide an estimate. A 2010 report indicates that “there have been between one hundred and one hundred and fifty death sentences a year on average since the year 2000.” [3] On the other hand, in its 2006 report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, Algeria stated that “in recent years, hundreds of people given a final death sentence have had their sentence commuted to life imprisonment.” [4] Since then, there have been hundreds of new death sentences reported each year.

At the end of 2005, hundreds of people were reported to be on death row in Algeria. [5] In 2007, 271 sentences were handed down. [6] In 2008, there were at least 200 new death sentences (in that year, Algeria was ranked 4th in the world in terms of number of death sentences issued). [7] Many people were sentenced on terrorism-related charges in their absence. [8] In 2009, at least 100 sentences were handed down, [9] primarily in terrorism cases [10] and again mostly in absentia. [11] In 2010, more than 100 persons were sentenced to death, again mostly in terrorism-related cases and in absentia, but some for premeditated murder. [12]

Since then, the number of death sentences seems to have declined. In 2011, there were at least 51 new death sentences, [13] but in 2012 there were 153 (most of them, again, for people tried in absentia for terrorism-related offenses). [14] In 2013, there were at least 40 new death sentences, 26 of which were handed down in absentia. [15] In 2014, at least 16 death sentences were issued. [16] Twelve death sentences have been issued so far in 2015. [17]

In the absence of any information about commutations since 2006, and given that there have been no executions since then, we estimate that there are at least 943 individuals under sentence of death in Algeria, although they may not all be currently imprisoned in the country.

(This question was last updated on July 22, 2015.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on December 6, 2017)

0. [18]

Executions in 2016

0. [19]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [20]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [21]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [22]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [23]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [24]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [25]

Executions in 2009

0. [26]

Executions in 2008

0. [27]

Executions in 2007

0. [28]

Year of Last Known Execution

1993. [29]

References

[1] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 3, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Algeria, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/8005.htm, Feb. 17, 2011.
[3] Caroline Sculier, Towards a Universal Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, Strategies, Arguments and Perspectives, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 9, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=56&lid=295, Feb., 2010.
[4] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examination Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, People’s Democratic Republic Of Algeria, p. 42, para. 269, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/3, Nov. 7, 2006.
[5] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 173, n. 73, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 7, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 15, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Human Rights in People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Report 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/algeria/report-2009, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[10] Caroline Sculier, Towards a Universal Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, Strategies, Arguments and Perspectives, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 9, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=56&lid=295, Feb., 2010.
[11] Human Rights Watch, Algeria, Events of 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/node/87706, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Algeria: Amnesty International Report 2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/algeria/report-2010, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[17] AFP, Algeria sentences 12 Islamists to death over 2008 bombing, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/05/28/Algeria-sentences-12-Islamists-to-death-over-2008-bombing.html, May 28, 2015.
[18] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[19] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[20] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[23] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[24] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[25] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, ACT 50/001/2011, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2011/en, Mar. 28, 2011.
[26] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 18, ACT 50/001/2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2010/en, Mar. 30, 2010.
[27] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 15, ACT 50/003/2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/003/2009/en, Mar. 24, 2009.
[28] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2008/en, Apr. 15, 2008.
[29] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Algérie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=21, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort dans le monde: Algérie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Planned/premeditated murder, [1] murder of an ascendant, [2] poisoning, [3] murder of a child aged less than 16 years through abusive behavior, [4] and murder of a child or an incapacitated person through abandonment, [5] are punishable by death. However, a mother found guilty of murdering her newborn child will be punished by a term of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years. [6] Murder of an on duty judge or public official is also punishable by death. [7] Murder committed before, during or after another felony is punishable by death. [8] Murder committed in order to prepare, facilitate or execute an offense or felony, or committed in order to ensure the escape or impunity of those who committed the offense, is punishable by death. [9]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
When they result in death, the following offenses are punishable by death: castration, [10] arson (or destruction using explosive devices) of buildings, vehicles or harvests, [11] and intentional destruction of military equipment. [12]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Destruction or attempted destruction, using explosive devices, of any public infrastructure or production plant is punishable by death when it results in death. [13]

In addition, the anti-terrorism law of 1995 introduced into the Penal Code a new section on terrorist offenses. [14] Pursuant to this section, offenses committed with terrorist intent are more severely punished, and offenses otherwise punished by life imprisonment are punished by death. [15] Article 87bis of the Penal Code defines terrorist intent as “any act whose purpose is to endanger the security of the state, its territorial integrity, and the stability and normal operation of institutions”, including by sowing fear among the people, hindering means of transportation or communication, or violating symbols of the Nation and the Republic. [16]

Given the broadness of these definitions, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of death-eligible terrorist offenses. Indeed, according to Amnesty International, “these broadly framed provisions have been interpreted by the authorities or by the courts to include the peaceful exercise of civil and political rights.” [17] The U.N. Committee Against Torture also expressed concern “about the rather vague definition of terrorism. (…) This definition could extend to acts which may be unrelated to terrorism and lay the persons thereby arrested open to actions which could violate the Convention [against Torture].” [18]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
The illegal possession, import, export, production, or use of explosive substances or its components are punishable by death. [19] Destruction or attempted destruction, using explosive devices, of any public infrastructure or production plant is punishable by death. [20]

In addition, the anti-terrorism law of 1995 introduced into the Penal Code a new section on terrorist offenses. [21] Pursuant to this section, offenses committed with terrorist intent are more severely punished, and offenses otherwise punished by life imprisonment are punished by death. [22] Article 87bis of the Penal Code defines terrorist intent as “any act whose purpose is to endanger the security of the state, its territoral integrity, and the stability and normal operation of institutions”, including by sowing fear among the people, hindering means of transportation or communication, or violating sybols of the Nation and the Republic. [23]

Given the broadness of these definitions, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of death-eligible terrorist offenses. Indeed, according to Amnesty International, “these broadly framed provisions have been interpreted by the authorities or by the courts to include the peaceful exercise of civil and political rights.” [24] The U.N. Committee Against Torture also expressed concern “about the rather vague definition of terrorism. (…) This definition could extend to acts which may be unrelated to terrorism and lay the persons thereby arrested open to actions which could violate the Convention [against Torture].” [25]

Treason. [26]
Attempted treason, [27] and provocation or offer to commit treason [28] are punishable by death.

Espionage.
Acts of espionage are punishable by death. Provoking or offering to commit espionage is also punishable by death. [29]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Many military offenses are punishable by death (desertion, capitulation, dereliction of duty, plotting against a superior, destruction of military facilities, disobedience…). [30] -

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
-Torture: Any criminal who employs torture, or commits acts of cruelty, in the execution of felonies, is punishable by death. [31]
-Poisoning: Poisoning is punishable by death. [32]
-Perjury: Perjury, [33] deliberate mistranslation, [34] and intentionally giving misleading or false expert opinions, [35] are punishable by death when they lead to a death sentence being pronounced.
-Attempt: Attempting a death-eligible offense is punishable by death. [36]
-Recidivism: A repeat offender who was previously convicted of an offense punishable by more than five years’ imprisonment, and whose second offense is a felony resulting in death, is punishable by death. [37] If the first sentence was handed down by a military court, the first offense must also be punishable under civil criminal law in order to trigger the recidivism rule. [38]

Comments.
According to Hands Off Cain, three people were sentenced to death in April 2008 for trafficking 625kg of cannabis. [39] However, as of January 2011, we had not found any death-eligible drug offenses. Moreover, in its 2006 report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, Algeria mentions that drug trafficking is no longer punishable by death. [40]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. Article 53 of the Penal Code provides that mitigating circumstances can reduce a death sentence to a minimum jail term of 10 years. [41]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

None, there is no mandatory death penalty.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No individual has been executed in Algeria since 1993. [42]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Individuals younger than 18 years old at the time of the offense [43] can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment under national law. [44] This is in conformity with Algeria’s international obligations as a party to the ICCPR [45] and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [46] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
Pregnant women may not be executed under national law. [47] This is in conformity with Algeria’s international obligations as a party to the ICCPR, [48] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women

Women With Small Children.
Women who are nursing a child who is less than 24 months old may not be executed. [49] Algeria is a party to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [50] which prohibits the imposition of a death sentence on mothers of infants and young children. [51]

Mentally Ill.
A person who was insane at the time of the offense may not be found criminally liable, [52] and death-sentenced prisoners who have become insane may not be executed. [53]

Comments.
Death-sentenced prisoners who are seriously ill may not be executed. [54]

References

[1] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 255-257, 261, arts. 269, 271 and arts. 316, 318, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[2] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 258, 261, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[3] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 260, 261, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[4] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 269, 271, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[5] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 316, 318, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[6] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 261, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[7] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 148, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[8] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 263, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[9] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 263, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[10] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 274, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[11] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 399, 400, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[12] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 290, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[13] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 402, 403, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[14] Algeria Order Amending and Completing Order No. 56-156 instituting the Penal Code, dated Jun. 6, 1966, Order No. 95-11, Feb. 25, 1995.
[15] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 87bis 1, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[16] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 87bis, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 16, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[18] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 2, para. 4, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[19] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 87bis7, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[20] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 403, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[21] Algeria Order Amending and Completing Order No. 56-156 instituting the Penal Code, dated Jun. 6, 1966, Order No. 95-11, Feb. 25, 1995.
[22] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 87bis 1, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[23] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 87bis, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[24] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 16, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[25] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 2, para. 4, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[26] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 61, 62, 63, 77, 80, 81, 84, 86, 89, 90, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009. Algeria Code of Military Justice, arts. 277-279, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[27] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 64, 77, 84, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[28] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 64, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[29] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 64, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009. Algeria Code of Military Justice, arts. 280, 281, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[30] Algeria Code of Military Justice, arts. 265, 266, 267, 273, 275, 283 and 284, 287, 290, 291, 304, 309, 325, 331, 332, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[31] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 261, 262, 263bis, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[32] Penal Code of Algeria, arts. 260, 261, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[33] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 232, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[34] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 237, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[35] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 238, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[36] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 30, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[37] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 54bis, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[38] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 59, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[39] Hands Off Cain, 2008, Algeria, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=25&nome=algeria, last accessed Mar. 11, 2011.
[40] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examination Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, People’s Democratic Republic Of Algeria, p. 42, para. 270, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/3, Nov. 7, 2006.
[41] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 53, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[42] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Algérie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=21, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort dans le monde: Algérie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[43] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 443, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007.
[44] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 50, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009; Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 36, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008; U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Comments by the Government of Algeria on the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, p. 6, para. 34, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3/Add.1, Mar. 13, 2009.
[45] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[46] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants, last accessed Jan. 21, 2011.
[47] Code of Algeria for the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 155, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[48] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[49] Code of Algeria for the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 155, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[50] A.U, List of Countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to The African Charter On The Rights And Welfare Of The Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Documents/Treaties/List/African%20Charter%20on%20the%20Rights%20and%20Welfare%20of%20the%20Child.pdf, Mar. 1, 2010.
[51] A.U., African Charter On The Rights And Welfare Of The Child, art. 30,e, A.U. Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49, Jul. 11, 1990.
[52] Penal Code of Algeria, art. 47, Order No. 56-156, Jun. 6, 1966, as amended by 2009.
[53] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 155, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[54] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 155, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Sep. 12, 1989. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

Dec. 10, 1968. [4]

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

Yes. [5]

Date of Accession

Sep. 12, 1989. [6]

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [8]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [9]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [10]

Date of Accession

Mar. 1, 1987. [11]

Signed?

Yes. [12]

Date of Signature

Apr. 10, 1986. [13]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [14]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [15]

Date of Signature

Dec. 29, 2003. [16]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [17]

Date of Accession

Jul. 8, 2003. [18]

Signed?

Yes. [19]

Date of Signature

May 21, 1999. [20]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Yes. [21]

Date of Accession

June 11, 2006. [22]

Signed?

Yes. [23]

Date of Signature

August 2, 2004. [24]

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [25]

Vote

In Favor. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [27]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [28]

Vote

In Favor. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [30]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [31]

Vote

In Favor. [32]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [33]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [34]

Vote

In Favor. [35]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [36]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [37]

Vote

In Favor. [38]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [39]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Yes. [40]

Vote

In Favor. [41]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [42]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[9] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
[10] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[11] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[12] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[13] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[14] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[15] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[16] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[17] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[18] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[19] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[20] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[21] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://bit.ly/1lGNtiz (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[22] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://bit.ly/1lGNtiz (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[23] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://bit.ly/1lGNtiz (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[24] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://bit.ly/1lGNtiz (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[25] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[26] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[27] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[28] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[29] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[30] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[31] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[32] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[33] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[34] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[35] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[36] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[37] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[38] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[39] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[40] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[41] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[42] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Constitution does not make any direct reference to capital punishment. [1] However, the Constitution enshrines a right to physical integrity, without describing any exceptions. Article 34 of the Constitution reads: “The State guarantees the inviolability of human beings. Any form of physical or moral violence and any assault on dignity are prohibited.” [2] Article 35 adds that “…physical or moral assaults on the integrity of persons are repressed by law”. [3] Under Article 32, the fundamental liberties and human rights are guaranteed. [4]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

Under Article 132, treaties ratified under the conditions specified by the constitution have higher authority than national legislation. [5]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

Since 1993, no executions have been carried out in Algeria. [6] In 2007, 2008, and 2010, Algeria assumed co-sponsorship of the U.N. General Assembly moratorium resolution. [7] Nevertheless, it has continued to issue more than hundred death sentences a year, [8] causing it to rank 4th in the list of countries that pronounced the most death sentences in 2008. [9] But according to its 2006 report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, “in recent years, hundreds of people given a final death sentence have had their sentence commuted to life imprisonment.” [10]

In the same report, Algeria noted that there had been a trend in law towards the abolition of the death penalty: “this is apparent from the successive revisions of the Criminal Code since 2001, repealing the death penalty for over 10 offences, and from the special laws enacted in the context of justice reform (laws on money-laundering and terrorist financing, illegal drug trafficking, and corruption and counterfeiting), none of which prescribe the death penalty.” [11] In June 2004, Justice Minister Tayeb Belaïz declared that the death penalty would be abolished from Algerian legislation, but added in the same breath that the death penalty would remain for certain serious crimes such as terrorism, treason and murder. [12] Minister Belaïz explained that the death penalty had been abolished in a vast majority of countries around the world, and that Algerian legislation needed to follow the trend in a globalized world. [13]

Although abolition has been on the table for almost a decade, it has never been implemented. Two abolition bills were introduced in 2006 [14] and 2008, [15] and both were rejected, the first by the Members of Parliament, [16] and the second by the government. [17] According to the WCADP, “this delay can be partially explained by the nervousness of certain politicians, and particularly those from the Islamist wing who want to apply Sharia.” [18] In January 2009, at a regional seminar against capital punishment organized in Algiers, the ministry for Religious Affairs and the Islamic High Council clearly announced that they were against abolition. [19]

The government also appears to be willing to maintain the death penalty in the context of the fight against terrorism and organized crime. [20] Some see the counter-terrorism argument as a mere excuse: “in the Algerian penal code, the overwhelming majority of death-eligible offenses are related to political offenses. (…) The death penalty is also used to terrorize opponents,” explains a human rights lawyer. [21]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

Yes. Former President Liamine Zeroual declared a moratorium on executions in December 1993, which still prevails. [22]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

As of April 2011, we were unable to locate any significant published cases concerning the death penalty.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

As of April 2011, we were unable to locate any source for Algerian judicial decisions in English or French. Arabic speakers might begin their research on the website of the Algerian Supreme Court: http://www.coursupreme.dz/. French and Arabic speakers may check the jurisprudence database of the ministry for Justice, which was under construction at the time of our research: http://www.droit.mjustice.dz/decision.htm.

What is the clemency process?

The President has the power to grant pardons and commutations. [23] No execution may take place until a request for pardon has been refused, [24] but a death-sentenced person may only be notified of the rejection of a clemency request at the time the execution is to take place. [25]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Death-eligible offenses are tried by the Criminal Tribunals [26] where 3 judges and 2 jurors sit, [27] and by the Military Tribunal [28] where the bench is composed of one judge and two military “assessors” of equal or greater rank. [29]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Death-eligible offenses are tried by the Criminal Tribunals [30] and by the Military Tribunal. [31] A death-sentenced accused may appeal to the Supreme Court from either court, [32] on matters of law only. [33] If the Supreme Court overturns the decision, the accused will be retried by another court, or by a different bench of the same court. [34]

Collateral review (review on the facts) is also provided for by the Code of Penal Procedure. There are four situations in which the accused may ask for a review by the Supreme Court. All four relate to the appearance of new facts or evidence calling into question the guilt of the death-sentenced person. [35]

References

[1] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[2] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 34, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[3] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 35, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[4] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 32, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[5] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 132, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Algérie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=21, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort dans le monde: Algérie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008.
[8] Hands Off Cain, Co-sponsor of Resolution on a Moratorium on the Death Penalty, http://www.handsoffcain.info/chisiamo/index.php?iddocumento=13317886, last accessed Mar. 29, 2011. By March 29, official U.N. minutes were not yet available.
[9] Caroline Sculier, Towards a Universal Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, Strategies, Arguments and Perspectives, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 9, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=56&lid=295, Feb., 2010.
[10] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algerie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[11] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examination Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, People’s Democratic Republic Of Algeria, p. 42, para. 269, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/3, Nov. 7, 2006.
[12] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examination Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, People’s Democratic Republic Of Algeria, p. 42, para. 270, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/3, Nov. 7, 2006.
[13] Associated Press – AP, La peine de mort sera abolie en Algérie, affirme le ministre de la Justice, http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=955, Jun. 27, 2004.
[14] Associated Press – AP, La peine de mort sera abolie en Algérie, affirme le ministre de la Justice, http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=955, Jun. 27, 2004.
[15] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algerie, http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=955, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 9, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[17] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algerie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[18] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algerie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011; La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Algerie, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=21, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[19] Mona Chamass, Fighting against the Death Penalty in the Arab World, Protagonists, Arguments and Prospects, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 9, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=56&lid=205, Feb. 2010. See also Magharebia, L’Algérie relance le débat sur la peine de mort, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/fr/features/awi/features/2010/03/11/feature-02, Mar. 11, 2010.
[20] Mona Chamass, Fighting against the Death Penalty in the Arab World, Protagonists, Arguments and Prospects, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 9, http://www.worldcoalition.org/modules/wfdownloads/singlefile.php?cid=56&lid=205, Feb. 2010.
[21] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algerie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[22] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Maître Bouchachi dérange mais force le respect, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/news.php?new=1223, Feb. 8, 2010.
[23] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort : Algérie, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=DZA, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011. Magharebia, L’Algérie relance le débat sur la peine de mort, http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/fr/features/awi/features/2010/03/11/feature-02, Mar. 11, 2010. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 67, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Algeria, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/CO/3, Dec. 12, 2007.
[24] Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, art. 77.9, JORADP No. 76 of Dec. 8, 1996, as last amended by Law No. 08-19 of Nov. 15, 2008.
[25] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 155, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[26] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 156, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[27] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 248, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007; Algeria Law of on the Organization of the Judiciary, art. 18, No. 05-11, Jul. 17, 2005.
[28] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 258, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007.
[29] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 25, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[30] Algeria Code of Military Justice, arts. 5-7, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[31] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 248, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007; Algeria Law on the Organization of the Judiciary, art. 18, No. 05-11, Jul. 17, 2005.
[32] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 25, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[33] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 250, 313, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007; Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 174, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[34] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 500, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007.
[35] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 523, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007. Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 186, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[36] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 531, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Under Algerian law, death-sentenced prisoners are to be incarcerated in so-called rehabilitation establishments, together with dangerous prisoners and inmates sentenced to more than 5 years’ imprisonment. [1] They are to be held in high security wings. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

The law provides that death-sentenced prisoners are to be incarcerated in individual cells during their first five years in prison. Afterwards, they may share cells with other death-sentenced prisoners during the daytime. [3] The law also provides that death-sentenced prisoners have the right to take breaks and go on walks within their special facilities, either alone or with their fellow prisoners. [4] As of January 2011, we were unable to determine if these provisions are actually enforced.

General prison conditions in Algeria are reported to be harsh. Amnesty International says that in recent years, it has received “persistent reports of torture or other ill-treatment, particularly at the hands of the Department of Information and Security (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité or DRS)”, and at El Harrach Prison. [5] The U.S. Department of State reports that in 2008, the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights “conducted 34 prison visits and highlighted concerns with overcrowding, insufficient bed space, as well as poor lighting, ventilation, nutrition, and hygiene.” [6] In 2008, the Collective of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA) reported that “the conditions of those legally detained are disastrous. Each detainee has, on average, 1.89 m2 of space. This overcrowding is compounded by other forms of inhuman treatment in prison such as solitary confinement and lack of medical care. Regular hunger strikes and prisoner deaths are symptomatic of these conditions of detention.” [7]

As of January 2011, we found no reports describing actual prison conditions on death row.

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

As of January 2011, we had not identified foreign nationals currently under sentence of death in Algeria.

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

As of January 2011, we had not identified any foreign nationals currently under sentence of death in Algeria.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of January 2011, we had not identified any women currently under sentence of death in Algeria.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

As of January 2011, we did not find any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death in Algeria who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of January 2011, we had not found any reports on the racial/ethnic composition on death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Code of Penal Procedure and the Code of Military Justice provide that a defendant being tried by the Criminal Tribunal or the Military Tribunal must be assigned a lawyer by the court at the time of his first appearance if he is not already represented. Legal representation is compulsory for persons charged with a felony. [8] These provisions have been altered by the 2009 amendments to the legal aid system, which guarantee free legal assistance, on request by a defendant appearing before an investigating judge and to defendants tried by a Criminal Tribunal. [9] The Legal Aid Ordinance provides that a judge must decide whether the request is justified (“bien fondé”), [10] implying that people tried by the Criminal Tribunal may be denied legal assistance.

According to a 2008 Amnesty International report, legal aid provisions are rarely applied in practice. Amnesty reports: “detainees commonly state that they were not informed by the examining judge of their right to be assisted by a lawyer of their own choosing, or that the judge could appoint such legal counsel on their behalf, although official reports of such hearings generally suggest that the detainee was informed of these rights. According to some former detainees, they were asked by the examining judge if they were prepared to make a statement without their lawyer present and agreed, either because they were uncertain as to their rights or feared that they would otherwise be returned to the custody of the Information and Security Department (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité).” [11]

Additionally, we note that under Article 18 of the Code of Military Justice, a lawyer who is chosen by a defendant charged with a military offense, rather than appointed by the Military Tribunal, may not represent the defendant without the court’s authorization. [12] We found one case where a defendant’s lawyer was denied authorization to represent his client before the court, without the Military Tribunal providing grounds for its decision, or assigning another counsel as is mandated by law. [13]

It should also be noted that Algerian law does not guarantee the right to counsel during the period of remand in custody. This is very troubling since it is reported that the maximum legal period of remand in custody, which is 12 days, can in practice be extended repeatedly when people are arrested on suspicion of ties to terrorism. [14] “Such suspects are routinely held by the Information and Security Department (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité) incommunicado and in secret places of detention. During this time, they are denied contact with their families and to legal counsel and medical care, even when the duration of [remand in custody] (…) is significantly exceeded, for weeks or even months, in breach of the law.” [15]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Under the 2009 amendments to the legal aid system, legal aid is provided on request to defendants filing an appeal before the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court, when the sentence exceeds a five-year term of imprisonment. [16] As of January 2011 we found no reports indicating how this provision is enforced in practice.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of January 2011, we did not find information on the quality of legal representation in capital cases in Algeria. However, different reports indicate that criminal lawyers experience many difficulties properly representing their clients in Algeria.

Amnesty International reported in 2008 that “lawyers providing defense in sensitive cases, such as cases of persons suspected of links with armed groups in Algeria or international terrorism, or providing legal aid in “disappearance” cases, face harassment by the authorities.” [17] The case of human rights lawyer Amine Sidhoum is particularly illustrative. He was sentenced in 2008 to a fine and a 6 month suspended prison term for bringing the Algerian judiciary into disrepute. [18] He was also forbidden from gaining access to one of his clients by decision of the Military Tribunal (under Article 18 of the Code of Military Justice, a lawyer who is chosen by a defendant charged with a military offense, rather than appointed by the Military Tribunal may not represent the defendant without the court’s authorization [19] ). It is reported that the president of the Military Tribunal did not provide grounds for his decision, and did not assign another counsel as was mandated by law. [20]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Persons suspected of subversive activities or terrorism reportedly face unfair trials. [21] The maximum legal period of remand in custody, which is 12 days, [22] can in practice be extended repeatedly when people are arrested on suspicion of links with terrorism. [23] “Such suspects are routinely held by the Information and Security Department (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité) incommunicado and in secret places of detention. During this time, they are denied contact with their families and to legal counsel and medical care, even when the duration of [remand in custody] (…) is significantly exceeded, for weeks or even months, in breach of the law.” [24] Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and local human rights lawyers report that torture and other ill-treatment are persistent and most often used against persons suspected of links with terrorist groups. [25] Courts are also said to have accepted as “evidence, without investigation, ‘confessions’ that defendants alleged had been obtained under torture or other duress.” [26]

In its 2008 Concluding Observations, the U.N. Committee Against Torture expressed concern about the “many serious allegations (…) of cases of torture and abuse inflicted on detainees by law enforcement officers” [27] and about “information received that confessions obtained as a result of torture have been admitted in legal proceedings.” [28]

In February 2011, the government voted to end the state of emergency which had been in force since 1992. [29] It is to be hoped that one of its consequences, the delegation of judicial police functions to officials of the Intelligence and Security Department, will also be put to an end. The Intelligence and Security Department “have reportedly been behind numerous cases of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment committed in [Algeria].” [30]

References

[1] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 28.I.3, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[2] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 152, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[3] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 153, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[4] Algeria Code on the Organization of Prisons and the Social Reintegration of Prisoners, art. 154, Law No. 05-04, Feb. 6, 2005, as amended by 2007.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Algeria: End impunity for abuse of detainees in El Harrach Prison, MDE 28/003/2010, May 17, 2010.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Algeria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136065.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Summary Prepared By The Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights, In Accordance With Paragraph 15(C) Of The Annex To Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, Algeria, p. 7, para. 30, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/1/DZA/3, Mar. 6, 2008.
[8] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 271, 292, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007; Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 79, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[9] Algeria Legal Aid Ordinance, art. 25, No. 71-57, Aug. 5, 1971, last amended on Feb. 25, 2009; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted In Accordance With Paragraph 15(A) Of The Annex To Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, Algeria, p. 9, para. 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/1/DZA/1, Mar. 20, 2008.
[10] Algeria Legal Aid Ordinance, art. 26, No. 71-57, Aug. 5, 1971, last amended on Feb. 25, 2009.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 10, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[12] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 18, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[13] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Situation In Specific Countries Territories, p. 16, para. 24, U.N. Doc A/HRC/11/41/Add.1, May 19, 2009.
[14] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 6, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[16] Algeria Legal Aid Ordinance, art. 25, No. 71-57, Aug. 5, 1971, last amended on Feb. 25, 2009; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted In Accordance With Paragraph 15(A) Of The Annex To Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, Algeria, p. 9, para. 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/1/DZA/1, Mar. 20, 2008.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 23, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Algerian human rights lawyer convicted for denouncing violations, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/algerian-human-rights-lawyer-convicted-denouncing-violations-20081126, Nov. 26, 2008. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Situation In Specific Countries Territories, p. 17, para. 25, U.N. Doc A/HRC/11/41/Add.1, May 19, 2009.
[19] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 18, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[20] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Situation In Specific Countries Territories, p. 16, para. 24, U.N. Doc A/HRC/11/41/Add.1, May 19, 2009.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Human Rights in People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Report 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/algeria/report-2009, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[22] Algeria Code of Penal Procedure, art. 65, Order No. 66-155, Jun. 8, 1966, as amended by 2007.
[23] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[24] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, pp. 3, 6, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008. See also Human Rights Watch, Algeria, Events of 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/node/87706, last accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
[25] Amnesty Intl., Algeria: End impunity for abuse of detainees in El Harrach Prison, MDE 28/003/2010, May 17, 2010. Human Rights Watch, Algeria, Events of 2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/node/87706, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Algeria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136065.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 1, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr.16, 2008.
[26] Amnesty Intl., Human Rights in People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Report 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/algeria/report-2009, last accessed Apr. 9, 2011. See also Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 19, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr.16, 2008.
[27] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 5, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[28] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 8, para. 18, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.
[29] Lamine Chikhi & Christian Lowe, Algeria to end 19-year of state of emergency, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/22/us-algeria-emergency-lifting-idUSTRE71L5HF20110222, Feb. 22, 2011.
[30] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 19 Of The Convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Algeria, p. 2, para. 4, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/DZA/CO/3, May 26, 2008.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 2007 Concluding Observations, the U.N. Human Rights Committee noted “with satisfaction the progress that [Algeria] has made towards the abolition of the death penalty by reducing the number of crimes punishable by death and commuting the sentences of some prisoners.” It regretted, however, “that some persons sentenced to death have not yet formally benefited from commutation of their sentence, even though they are now entitled to such a measure.” The Committee recommended that Algeria “carry out its intention of abolishing the death penalty and ratify the second Optional Protocol.” [1] The Committee also expressed concern “at the lack of details on the particularly broad definition of terrorist and subversive acts given in the Criminal Code, especially in view of the consequences of acts subject to the death penalty” and stated that “the definition of terrorist and subversive acts should not lead to constructions whereby the terrorist acts can be invoked to deny the legitimate expression of rights established in the Covenant.” [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In the past ten years, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held in 2001, 2003 and 2006, that the Algerian authorities had arbitrarily detained people in four separate cases. [3]

During its 2008 review by the U.N. Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria supported the following recommendations relating to the death penalty and the criminal justice system:
-to continue the moratorium on death penalty; [4]
-to take steps to guarantee the rights of detainees, including immediate access to a lawyer, information to families on detentions, and to ensure that judicial authorities are informed of all detentions; [5]
-to implement measures to protect detainees from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and ensure that all cases of persons detained are brought to the attention of the judiciary without delay. [6]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Algeria, p. 6, para. 16, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/CO/3, Dec. 12, 2007.
[2] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Algeria, p. 6, para. 17, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DZA/CO/3, Dec. 12, 2007.
[3] U.N. ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights, Civil And Political Rights, Including The Question Of Torture And Detention, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinion No. 28/2001, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2003/8/Add.1, Jan. 24, 2003; U.N. ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights, Civil And Political Rights, Including The Question Of Torture And Detention, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinion No. 22/2003, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/6/Add.1, Nov. 19, 2004; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinions No. 40/2006, 38/2006, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/4/Add.1, Jan. 16, 2008.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, p. 12, para. 69.3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008.
[5] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, p. 12, para. 69.4, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria, p. 13, para. 69.12, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/29, May 23, 2008.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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