Death Penalty Database

Comoros

Information current as of: May 28, 2015

General

Official Country Name

Union of the Comoros (Comoros). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Eastern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last known execution took place in 1997. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
Executions are carried out by firing squad. [4]

References

[1] Union des Comores, Government website, http://www.beit-salam.km.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Oct. 31, 2013.
[3] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 63, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009 (indicating that only 2 executions in 30 years have been carried out in Comoros). Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, The Death Penalty in the Arab World 2011, http://www.achrs.org/english/images/stories/news/pdf/Death%20Penalty%20Report%202011.pdf, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Comores, http://www.abolition.fr/node/363, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[4] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 12, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic). [1]

Population

718,000 (U.N., 2012 est.). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

At least 6. [3]

In November 2014, there were 6 death-sentenced prisoners. [4] Several of these death sentences were pronounced in recent years. [5] In 2013, it was reported that there were 10 prisoners convicted of murder or similar offenses, but it is unknown how many were under sentence of death. [6] There have been no reports of commutations or executions in recent years.

Annual Number of Reported Executions

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

0. [7]

Executions in 2016

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [14]

Executions in 2009

0. [15]

Executions in 2008

0. [16]

Executions in 2007

0. [17]

Year of Last Known Execution

1997. [18]

The last execution was carried out in May 1997, when Saidali Mohamed was executed for armed robbery. [19]

The previous execution was carried out in September 1996, and was the country’s first execution since its independence in 1975. The prisoner, Youssouf Ali, was sentenced to death for murder the day before his execution and was never given access to a lawyer. [20]

Neither of the two prisoners executed since the country’s independence were able to appeal their death sentences because at that time the judges of the appellate court had not yet been appointed by the National Assembly. [21]

References

[1] World Factbook, Comoros Profile, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cn.html, Jun. 20, 2014.
[2] UN Data, Comoros Profile, https://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=Comoros, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 56, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[4] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014.
[5] UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, para. 26, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[7] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[8] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[9] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[13] 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.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and 9. Executions in 2010 in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2010.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 56, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015. U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 63, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009 (indicating that only 2 executions in 30 years have been carried out in Comoros). Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, The Death Penalty in the Arab World 2011, http://www.achrs.org/english/images/stories/news/pdf/Death%20Penalty%20Report%202011.pdf, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Comores, http://www.abolition.fr/node/363, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[19] La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[20] Amnesty Intl., 1997 Report: Comoros, RefWorld, http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=3ae6aa1237, Jan. 1, 1997. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Comores, http://www.abolition.fr/node/363, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[21] Amnesty Intl., 1997 Report: Comoros, RefWorld, http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=3ae6aa1237, Jan. 1, 1997. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
According to media reports, the new Penal Code adopted on June 24, 2014 punishes parricide and murder by poisoning with death. [1] We could not locate a copy of the new Penal Code and were unable to confirm this information.

Murder.
According to media reports, the new Penal Code, adopted by Comoros lawmakers on June 24, 2014, punishes premeditated murder with death. [2] We could not locate a copy of the new Penal Code and were unable to confirm this information.

Comments.
A new Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure were adopted by the Comoros National Assembly in June 2014. [3] The government had originally proposed a draft Penal Code abrogating capital punishment, but abolition was rejected on religious grounds, amongst other reasons, during parliamentary debates in March 2014. [4] The first parliamentary amendment to the draft re-established capital punishment for premeditated murder, [5] but a later media article reports that the Penal Code finally adopted on June 24, 2014 also mandates death for two forms of aggravated murder: parricide and murder by poisoning. [6]

We were unable to consult the 2014 law to confirm that the other offenses that were punishable by death under the former Penal Code are now no longer death-eligible. Under the 1982 Penal Code, last amended in 1995, the following offenses were also punishable by death:
- other forms of aggravated murder: murder involving cruelty or barbaric acts, and murder committed to prepare, facilitate, carry out or facilitate escape or impunity for another crime; [7]
- offenses resulting in death, even without intent to kill: castration, [8] arson, [9] and armed robbery; [10]
- attempted murder of a child under the age of 15, when it results in severe physical harm, [11] or of a magistrate, officer or citizen in the employ of the government; [12]
- threatening murder against a person, if the threats involve the use of firearms [13] ;
- arson of occupied buildings or vehicles, or arson against the state; [14]
- kidnapping under the false pretense of representing state authority or by making death threats, if the victim is physically tortured; [15]
- treason and espionage offenses (including some military offenses [16] ), such as waging war or assisting a foreign or domestic power in waging war against Comoros, carrying out an armed attack against the government or the state’s territorial integrity, [17] espionage or incitement to espionage, [18] carrying out a rebellion, [19] or causing civil strife; [20] and
- committing a crime by using cruel or barbaric methods. [21]

A 2007 law amending the Penal Code introduced the death penalty for rape if it resulted in the death of the victim or if it involved torture or barbaric acts. [22] If the media reports are correct, the 2014 Penal Code also abrogated death as a possible punishment for aggravated rape. [23]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. We believe not. We were unable to consult the new Penal Code adopted in 2014 to confirm, but under the former Penal Code, although the death penalty was always denoted using mandatory language, the law permitted a reduced fixed or life sentence based on mitigating circumstances, unless the law provided otherwise. [24]

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

We believe that there is no mandatory death penalty. [25]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No one has been executed in the Comoros since 1997. [26]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
The Child Protection Law and the former Penal Code prohibit the execution of minors under the age of 18, but do not specify the exclusion of individuals who were under 18 at the time of the offense. [27] We were unable to consult the new Penal Code adopted in June 2014, but it is likely to contain a similar provision. As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child [28] and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [29] the Comoros is bound by an international obligation not to impose capital punishment for “crimes committed by children.” [30]

Pregnant Women.
Under the former Penal Code, pregnant women sentenced to death were not executed until after they gave birth. [31] It is likely that the new Penal Code adopted in June 2014 contains a provision similarly excluding pregnant women from execution. As a state party to the Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa, [32] the Comoros is bound by an international obligation not to impose capital punishment on pregnant women. [33]

Women With Small Children.
As a state party to the Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa, [34] the Comoros is bound by an international obligation not to impose capital punishment on nursing mothers. [35] We found no national laws implementing this rule, but under the Constitution of the Union, duly ratified international treaties take precedence over domestic legislation. [36]

Mentally Ill.
Under the former Penal Code, a person who was insane (“dans un état de démence”) at the time of committing an offense cannot be held criminally liable for the offense. [37] We found no laws prohibiting the execution of prisoners who become mentally ill following the offense and suffer from mental illness at the time of the execution.

We were unable to consult the new Penal Code adopted in June 2014, but it is likely to contain at least a provision excluding criminal liability for severe mental illness.

References

[1] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[2] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[3] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014. Al-Watwan, Réforme des textes pénaux: lecture et correction des projets des codes, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-forme-des-textes-pA-naux-Lecture-et-correction-des-projets-des-codes&actu_id=5890, Nov. 13, 2013.
[4] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014. Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.
[5] Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.
[6] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[7] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 280-281, 283, 285, 286, 287, 288, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[8] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 303, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[9] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 405, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[10] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 366, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[11] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 297-298, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[12] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 198-199, 202, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[13] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 289-292, 407, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[14] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 405-407, 83, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[15] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 336, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[16] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 55-57, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[17] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 55-58, 71, 73-76, 78, 81, 83, 86, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[18] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 58, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[19] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 78, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[20] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 71-78, 81, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[21] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 287, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[22] Penal Code Amendment Law, Aug. 30, 2007
[23] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[24] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 429, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[25] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 429, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[26] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 63, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009 (indicating that only 2 executions in 30 years have been carried out in Comoros). Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, The Death Penalty in the Arab World 2011, http://www.achrs.org/english/images/stories/news/pdf/Death%20Penalty%20Report%202011.pdf, 2011. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Comores, http://www.abolition.fr/node/363, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[27] Child Protection and Delinquency Repression Law of the Comoros (Loi sur la Protection de l’enfance et la répression de la délinquance juvenile), art. 33, Dec. 31, 2005. Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 51, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[28] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, Apr. 1, 2015.
[29] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[30] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, art. 5(3), OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49, 1990, entered into force Nov. 29, 1999. Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 37(a), 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989.
[31] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 15, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[32] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[33] Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa , art. 4(j), OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/66.6, Sep. 13, 2000, entered into force Nov. 25, 2005.
[34] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[35] Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa , art. 4(j), OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/66.6, Sep. 13, 2000, entered into force Nov. 25, 2005.
[36] Constitution of the Comoros, art. 10, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[37] Penal Code of the Comoros, art. 49, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

No. [1]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [2]

Date of Signature

September 25, 2008. [3]

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

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

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. [8]

Date of Accession

June 1, 1986. [9]

Signed?

Yes. [10]

Date of Signature

December 7, 2004. [11]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [12]

Date of Accession

March 18, 2004. [13]

Signed?

Yes. [14]

Date of Signature

February 26, 2004. [15]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [16]

Date of Accession

March 18, 2004. [17]

Signed?

Yes. [18]

Date of Signature

February 26, 2004. [19]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

No. [20]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [21]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Abstained. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [24]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Abstained. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [27]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Abstained. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [30]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [31]

Vote

Abstained. [32]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [33]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [34]

Vote

Against. [35]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [36]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [37]

Vote

Against. [38]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [39]

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, Mar. 25, 2015.
[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, Mar. 25, 2015.
[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, Mar. 25, 2015.
[4] Status 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, Mar. 25, 2015.
[5] Status 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, Mar. 25, 2015.
[6] Status 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, Mar. 25, 2015
[7] Status 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, Mar. 25, 2015
[8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[9] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[10] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[11] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[17] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[18] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[19] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[20] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[21] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[22] 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.
[23] 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.
[24] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[25] 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, para. 141, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[26] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[27] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[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., Human Rights Council, Note Verbale dated 13 March 2015, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/28/G/15, Mar. 31, 2015.
[31] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, includng 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.
[32] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[33] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[34] 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.
[35] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[36] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[37] 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, pp. 3-4, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[38] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[39] 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 of the Union does not refer to capital punishment or to the right to life, but its preamble aspires to protect the rights and freedoms enshrined in international agreements, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. [1] The Constitution does not contain a section on fundamental individual rights. [2]

It is permissible for each of the Union’s four islands to have a Constitution. [3] The Fundamental Laws of Mwali, Ngazidja, and Ndzuani do not reference the death penalty or the right to life. [4]

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

Under Article 10 of the Constitution of the Union, duly ratified treaties take precedence over national laws, as long as they are respected by the other state party or parties. [5] Since the Comoros is a state party to the ACHPR, [6] the Protocol of the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa, [7] the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [8] and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [9] Comoros courts are directly bound by the death penalty provisions in these treaties.

The Preamble aspires to the fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant of the League of Arab States, and other international agreements and organizations, particularly the rights of women and children. [10]

The Fundamental Laws of Mwali, Ngazidja, and Ndzuani do not reference international law. [11]

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

The Comoros has historically made very little use of the death penalty and in the last few years seemed poised to abolish it. Only two executions have been carried out in the whole of the history of the Comoros since its independence in 1975. [12] The executions took place within a two-year period from 1996 to 1997, and, notably, after denying at least one accused legal counsel and both a right to appeal. [13] Although the Comoros has not been a stable nation, suffering 20 coups or attempted coups since its independence in 1975, [14] the death penalty for treason (which was available at least until the new Penal Code of 2014) [15] was never applied. [16]

In the last few years, there has been a clear movement towards abolition. After voting against the UN General Assembly’s universal moratorium resolution in 2007 and 2008, the Comoros abstained in 2010, 2012 and 2014. At its 2009 Universal Periodic Review, the Comoros delegation rejected recommendations that it abolish capital punishment, [17] but at its 2013 review, it accepted the same recommendations and announced legislative reforms that would effect de jure abolition. [18]

By 2013, the government had drafted new penal and criminal procedure codes [19] abrogating capital punishment, calling it “a major step for a Muslim country like the Comoros,” [20] and announcing that it would present the bill to the National Assembly in October 2013. Training workshops were organized around the draft code in early 2013, [21] and the government’s commitment to abolition was hailed by the UN [22] and human rights organizations as promising real change. [23] The purpose of the reform was both to modernize the country’s criminal laws to cover new offenses such as cybercriminality [24] and to bring the country into alignment with international human rights treaties. [25]

The abolitionist Penal Code was rejected, however, during parliamentary debates in March 2014, on religious grounds according to several sources. [26] A first parliamentary amendment re-established capital punishment for premeditated murder, [27] but later media articles report that the Penal Code finally adopted on June 24, 2014 also mandates death for two forms of aggravated murder: parricide and murder by poisoning. [28]

Several death sentences were issued by the Court of Assizes of the Comoros in the past few years, including a case from October 2012 in which the defendant was sentenced to death after being convicted of rape and murder in Jaunary 2012. [29] As of November 2014, there were 6 people under sentence of death in the Comoros. [30]

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

Yes. In November 2013, the government stated to the UN Human Rights Council that “in the spirit of General Assembly Resolution 63/168 [the first UNGA moratorium resolution], a moratorium on the death penalty is being observed.” [31] At the time of these declarations, the government had prepared a draft Penal Code abrogating capital punishment. [32] Later parliamentary debates reinstated capital punishment in a limited manner, [33] but we have no reason to believe that the moratorium on executions is not still in place, even if several death sentences have been issued by national courts in recent years. [34]

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

By the end of our research, we did not identify any sources to access judicial decisions by Comoros courts.

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

By the end of our research, we did not identify any sources to access judicial decisions by Comoros courts.

What is the clemency process?

The President of the Union of the Comoros has the prerogative of mercy. [35]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Under the 1972 Code of Penal Procedure, juries are provided in serious criminal cases, which are heard by the Assize Court. We were unable to consult the new 2014 criminal procedure law, but it is likely to provide for the use of juries in the Assize Court.

Brief Description of Appellate Process

In 1996 and 1997, both judicial executions in the Comoros occurred without the offender having access to an appellate process, given that the National Assembly had not yet named any appellate judges. [36] The Comoros now has an appeals process. [37]

Capital cases are heard by the Assize Court. [38] Defendants appealing on a question of constitutional law as an interlocutory matter appeal to the Constitutional Court, which renders final judgment on constitutional questions. [39] Other appeals fall to the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, [40] which must treat death penalty appeals as a priority and issue rulings within three months of receiving the appeal. [41]

References

[1] Constitution of the Comoros, Preamble, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[2] Constitution of the Comoros, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[3] Constitution of the Comoros, art. 7, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[4] Fundamental Law of the Island of Mwali, adopted by referendum on Mar. 10, 2002. Fundamental Law of Ngazidja, Dec. 2013. Fundamental Law of the Autonomous Island of Ndzuani, adopted by referendum on Mar. 10, 2002.
[5] Constitution of the Comoros, art. 10, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[6] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[7] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[9] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, Apr. 1, 2015.
[10] Constitution of the Comoros, Preamble, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[11] Fundamental Law of the Island of Mwali, adopted by referendum on Mar. 10, 2002. Fundamental Law of Ngazidja, Dec. 2013. Fundamental Law of the Autonomous Island of Ndzuani, adopted by referendum on Mar. 10, 2002.
[12] Amnesty Intl., 1997 Report: Comoros, RefWorld, http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=3ae6aa1237, Jan. 1, 1997. La peine de mort dans le monde, La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015.
[13] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 63, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009 (indicating that only 2 executions in 30 years have occurred in Comoros). Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997 (one individual had no counsel and no appeal prior to an execution that some criticized as a political move). U.N. ESC, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/61, Addendum, para. 125, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1998/68/Add.1, Dec. 19, 1997 (neither executed individual had a right to appeal).
[14] African Press International, Since independence from France in 1975, Comoros has endured more than 20 coups and secession attempts, http://africanpress.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/since-independence-from-france-in-1975-comoros-has-endured-more-than-20-coups-and-secession-attempts/, Mar. 2, 2009.
[15] Penal Code of the Comoros, arts. 55-58, 71-78, 81, 83, 86, Law No. 82 P/AF, May 8, 1982, as amended by Law No. 95-012/AF of Sep. 18, 1995.
[16] RFI, Tentative de coup d'Etat de 2013 aux Comores: 12 condamnations, http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20150131-comores-proces-coup-etat, Feb. 1, 2015 (12 people charged with attempting a coup in 2013 were sentenced to jail terms of 22 months to 10 years). La peine de mort – Comores, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=166, last accessed Mar. 25, 2015 (noting that in 1993, 5 individuals who attempted a coup were sentenced to death, then had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment a few months later). U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 63, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009 (noting that the death penalty has only been carried out twice in the country’s history).
[17] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 66(1), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009.
[18] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, paras. 110.1-110.9, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/L.9, Feb.4, 2014.
[19] Al-Watwan, Réforme des textes pénaux: lecture et correction des projets des codes, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-forme-des-textes-pA-naux-Lecture-et-correction-des-projets-des-codes&actu_id=5890, Nov. 13, 2013.
[20] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21: Comoros, para. 117. U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/COM/1, Nov. 8, 2013.
[21] UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, para. 26, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[22] UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, para. 26, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[23] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2013, p. 43, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[24] Ibnou Mohamed Abdou, Comores / Système judiciaire : Vers la révision de la loi pénale aux Comores, Radio Domoni Inter, http://www.domoni-inter.org/news/article?id=17, Feb. 23, 2013.
[25] Comores Droit Center Blog, Session extraordinaire de l’Assemblée de l’Union, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1493-session-extraordinaire-de-l-assemblee-de-l-union, Mar. 5, 2014.
[26] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014. Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.
[27] Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.
[28] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[29] UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, para. 26, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[30] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 56, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[31] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21: Comoros, para. 116, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/COM/1, Nov. 8, 2013.
[32] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21: Comoros, paras. 116-117, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/COM/1, Nov. 8, 2013. Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014.
[33] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014. Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.
[34] UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, para. 26, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[35] Constitution of the Comoros, art. 12, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009.
[36] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[37] Penal Procedure Code of the Comoros, arts. 240, 254-267, 1972.
[38] Penal Procedure Code of the Comoros, arts. 240 ff, 1972.
[39] Constitution of the Comoros, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009, art. 31.
[40] Constitution of the Comoros, Dec. 23, 2001, as amended by the referendum of May 17, 2009, art. 29. Organic Law on the Supreme Court of the Comoros, Jun. 27, 2005.
[41] Organic Law on the Supreme Court of the Comoros, art. 103, Jun. 27, 2005.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

We did not find specific information on where death-sentenced prisoners are held. The main prison is located in Moroni, and there are two smaller prisons in Anjouan and in Moheli. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prison conditions are poor. Prison buildings are old and dilapidated, dating back to French colonial times. Prisons are overcrowded: as of 2013, the country’s largest prison in Moroni, which has the capacity to hold 60 inmates, housed 206. [2] Prisoners sleep on the floor. [3] They receive insufficient food – one meal per day, always a bowl of rice and sardines – and depend on family to supplement their diet. Prisons also lack sanitation, ventilation, potable water, and adequate medical services. [4] One death row inmate interviewed by a human rights organization, Fekkak Abdellaziz, stated that he had been held for years and had never been examined by a doctor. [5]

Juveniles are detained with adults, and pretrial defendants with convicted inmates, but the Moroni national prison has a separate section for women prisoners. [6]

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

As of November 2014, there was at least one foreign national under sentence of death, Fekkak Abdellaziz. [7]

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

Fekkak Abdellaziz, reportedly sentenced to death for committing a “crime of passion,” is of Moroccan nationality. [8]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

We did not find any information about women under sentence of death. Reports suggest, however, that very few women are incarcerated for any crime in Comoros. Four women were reportedly in the women’s prison in Moroni as of October 2013, out of 206 inmates.

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?

We found no reports of juveniles under sentence of death, and as far as we know neither of the two men executed in Comoros since independence were juveniles. [9] As of October 2013, there were 6 minors incarcerated in the country.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We did not find any information on the racial or ethnic composition of death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Indigent defendants have the legal right to state-funded counsel, but reports indicate that this right is not always respected. [10] The prisoner executed in 1997 was never given any access to counsel. [11]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Indigent defendants have the legal right to state-funded counsel, but reports indicate that this right is not always respected. [12] The prisoner executed in 1997 was never given any access to counsel. [13] Moreover, neither prisoner executed since the Comoros’ independence was given the chance to appeal his death sentences, [14] because the National Assembly had not yet named any appellate judges. [15] The Comoros now has an appeals process. [16]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Judicial corruption and inconsistent respect for the defendant’s right to counsel undermine the effectiveness and quality of legal representation in the Comoros. [17]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Lengthy pretrial detention occasioned by administrative delays and the slow collection of evidence has led to individuals being held beyond the legally mandated period of 4 months without being seen by a judge. As of November 2014, only 25 of Moroni prison’s 221 inmates had been convicted. [18]

Police have abused or tortured individuals in recent years and there is no mechanism to investigate police abuses. [19]

The judiciary is reported to lack independence, resulting in inconsistency and unpredictability. Insufficient salaries may partly account for the problem of judicial corruption. [20]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[2] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014.
[3] UN Comoros Country Team, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review, http://www.upr-info.org/en/review/Comoros/Session-18---January-2014/Civil-society-and-other-submissions#top, Jun. 2013.
[4] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[5] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014.
[6] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[7] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014.
[8] Hands Off Cain, Comoros : Radicals and HoC Delegation Meets Ministerof Justice on Voting for the U.N. Resolution, http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=18309593, Nov. 18, 2014.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, RefWorld, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, RefWorld, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997. U.N. ESC, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/61, Addendum, para. 125, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1998/68/Add.1, Dec. 19, 1997.
[15] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[16] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[17] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.
[18] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.
[19] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.
[20] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

The Comoros are not a party to the ICCPR, [1] so the Human Rights Committee has no jurisdiction to issue observations or decisions under the Covenant.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

At its first Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council in May 2009, the Comoros rejected the recommendation that it abolish the death penalty. [2]

At its second UPR in January 2014, however, the Comoros accepted the recommendations that it abolish capital punishment and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the universal abolition of the death penalty. [3] At that time, the Comoros government had prepared a draft Penal Code abrogating capital punishment and planned to present it to the National Assembly in October 2013. The government stated in its national report to the Human Rights Council that this was “a major step for a Muslim country like the Comoros.” [4] During parliamentary debates in March and June 2014, however, the death penalty was reinstated for a limited number of murder offenses. [5]

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 May 28, 2015.
[2] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, para. 66(1), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/16, Jun. 4, 2009.
[3] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros, paras. 110.1-110.9, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/L.9, Feb.4, 2014.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21: Comoros, para. 117. U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/18/COM/1, Nov. 8, 2013.
[5] Al Watwan, Révision du code penal: la peine de mort reste applicable, http://www.alwatwan.net/index.php/index.php?home=actu.php&title=RA-vision-du-code-pA-nal-La-peine-de-mort-reste-applicable&actu_id=6754, Jul. 9, 2014. Comores Droit Center Blog, L’abolition de la peine de mort n’est pas pour demain, http://comoresdroit.centerblog.net/1505-l-abolition-de-la-peine-de-mort-n-est-pas-pour-demain, Mar. 20, 2014.

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

The Fondation Comorienne des Droits de l’Homme is involved in human rights advocacy in the Comoros, but we could not confirm whether the FCDH handles death penalty issues.

Fondation Comorienne des Droits de l’Homme [Comoros Human Rights Foundation]
B.P. 310 Hampandré Mutsamudu
Union of the Comores
Tel: + 269 71 15 43
Fax: +269 71 12 11
fcdh@snpt.km; a_allaoui@yahoo.fr

Helpful Reports and Publications

UN Country Team in Comoros, Universal Periodic Review of the Comoros: Submission of UN Country Team, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/comoros/session_18_-_january_2014/un_upr18_com_2_f_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.

Additional notes regarding this country

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