Death Penalty Database

Niger

Information current as of: March 27, 2012

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Niger (Niger). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Western Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution took place in 1976. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
(firing squad). [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Niger, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5474.htm, Feb. 6, 2012.
[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, Sep. 20, 2011.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 411, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[4] Penal Code of Niger, art. 13, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.

Country Details

Language(s)

French. [1]

Population

15,204,000. (2010). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

6. Our best estimate is 6, unless there have been commutations of death sentences or natural deaths.

However, as of March 2012, we were not able to determine the exact number of individuals currently under sentence of death in Niger. We know that death sentences continue to be imposed by courts, though this happens very rarely according to Amnesty International. However, as of March 2012, we were not able to determine the exact number of individuals currently under sentence of death in Niger. We know that death sentences continue to be imposed by courts, though this happens very rarely according to Amnesty International. [3] The last known death sentence was issued in 2008 [4] (probably in absentia), [5] but was overturned in December 2010. [6] At least five death sentences were issued in 2005, [7] and at least one in 2003. [8]

There were also two death sentences handed down in 1989 [9] and four in absentia in 1988. [10] However, we assume that these sentences were commuted. In 1987, former President Saïbou announced that all death sentences confirmed on appeal would be commuted to life imprisonment. [11] Saïbou left office in 1993, and we were unable to confirm how many death sentences had been commuted, or whether this commutation policy was still in effect.

Annual Number of Reported Executions

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

0. [12]

Executions in 2016

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [15]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [16]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [17]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [18]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [19]

Executions in 2009

0. [20]

Executions in 2008

0. [21]

Executions in 2007

0. [22]

Year of Last Known Execution

1976. [23] Nine people were sentenced to death, including two in absentia, for an attempted coup. The seven prisoners were executed by firing-squad. [24]

References

[1] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 5, Nov. 25, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Niger, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5474.htm, Feb. 6, 2012.
[3] Contrechamps, Niger: Une opportunité historique pour abolir la peine de mort, http://www.contrechamps.asso.fr/peine_de_mort_niger, Aug. 31, 2010.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 19, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[5] AFP, Niger : peine de mort par contumace pour l’ex-chef rebelle Rhissa Ag Boula, http://www.temoust.org/niger-peine-de-mort-par-contumace,5867, Jul. 14, 2008.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Niger, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154362.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.
[7] Ibrahim Elhadji Hassane and others v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06 of Apr. 13, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. Mohamed Sinniand other v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06-279 of Nov. 16, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Assizes in both of these cases and we could not find the subsequent decisions rendered by the Court of Assizes on retrial.
[8] Elhadj Aboubacar Oumarou v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06-072 of Mar. 16, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006.
[9] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[10] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[11] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[12] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[13] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[14] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[17] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and 9. Executions in 2010 in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[23] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 411, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[24] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Planned or premeditated murder (except when a mother kills her new-born child), [1] parricide, [2] murder or attempted murder of an internationally protected person, [3] murder of an on duty judge or public official, [4] and murder committed in furtherance of another offense [5] are punishable by death.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
When they result in death (even where there was no intent to cause death), the following offenses are punishable by death: castration, [6] poisoning [7] and kidnapping a minor. [8]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Hijacking, destroying or endangering a plane, ship or vehicle, or any public or private infrastructure or equipment; exploding a bomb or releasing toxic substances; and possessing, producing or using radioactive or nuclear equipment with the intent to cause substantial harm, are punishable by death when they result in death. [9] Murder of an internationally protected person is punishable by death. [10] Attempting any of the above offenses is also punishable by death. [11]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Committing an act of violence likely to result in serious bodily harm, in such a way that it endangers the security of an airport or another facility, is punishable by death. [12] Exploding a bomb or releasing toxic substances; and possessing, producing or using radioactive or nuclear equipment with the intent to cause substantial harm, are punishable by death when they cause “considerable economic losses”. [13] Attempting any of the above offenses is also punishable by death. [14]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Robbery preceded or followed by rape, [15] robbery resulting in bodily harm [16] and cattle theft preceded or followed by rape, kidnapping or the use of firearms, [17] are punishable by death.

Treason.
Treason, and provocation or offer to commit treason, are punishable by death. [18] Offenses against the security of the state [19] (e.g. illegally raising troops, [20] or organizing an insurrection movement [21] ) are also punishable by death.

Espionage.
Espionage and provocation or offer to commit espionage are punishable by death. [22]

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Genocide, [23] crimes against humanity, [24] attempt or conspiracy to commit genocide or crimes against humanity, [25] and certain war crimes, [26] are punishable by death.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
-Torture: Committing acts of torture or barbaric acts in the commission of a felony is punishable by death. [27] Torturing a kidnapped person is also punishable by death. [28]
- Human Trafficking: “Alienating the freedom” of more than one person, either gratuitously or in exchange for money, is punishable by death. [29] Because the Penal Code does not indicate the elements of this offense, its precise nature is difficult to define. It seems, however, to encompass a broad range of human trafficking offenses, as indicated by the fact that it replaces an older provision prohibiting the slave trade. [30] One commentator characterizes it as a catch-all provision whose interpretation may vary from one judge to another. [31] It does not include slavery offenses per se (such as owning a slave or inciting to slave ownership), as those offenses are covered in another section of the Code. [32]
-Poisoning: Poisoning is punishable by death even where it does not result in death. [33]
-Harboring criminals: Providing accommodation, refuge or a meeting place to a known criminal whose offense is punishable by death, is punishable by death. [34]
-Perjury: Perjury leading to a person being sentenced to death, [35] and deliberate mistranslation leading to a death sentence, are punishable by death. [36]
-Attempt: Attempting to commit a death-eligible offense is punishable by death. [37]
-Recidivism: A person who is sentenced to one of the most serious penalties (i.e. death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for 10 to 30 years), [38] and later commits a second offense punishable by life imprisonment, will be sentenced to death. If the first sentence was handed down by a military court, the first offense must be equally punishable under civil criminal law in order to trigger the recidivism rule. [39]

Comments.
According to Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle, “embezzlement of public funds or theft of public property” [40] are punishable by death. By the end of our research, we were unable to find the legal source supporting this assertion.

There may be additional death-eligible offenses falling under military law, but as of March 2012, we were unable to locate the legislation governing military offenses in Niger (the 2002 Code of Military Justice).

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. Pursuant to Article 53 of the Penal Code, if the court finds mitigating circumstances, a death sentence can be reduced to a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. [41] For a number of offenses, however, the Penal Code explicitly precludes the consideration of mitigating circumstances. For some other death-eligible offenses, the Penal Code raises the mitigated sentence set out in Article 53. For instance, if mitigating circumstances are found, murder of an on duty judge or public official will be punished by life imprisonment instead of a death sentence. [42]

The offenses for which a death sentence is mandatory are listed in the next section.

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

Aggravated Murder.
Murder or attempted murder of an internationally protected person is punished by a mandatory death sentence. [43]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Hijacking, destroying or endangering a plane, ship or vehicle, or any public or private infrastructure or equipment; exploding a bomb or releasing toxic substances; and possessing, producing or using radioactive or nuclear equipment with the intent to cause substantial harm, are punished by the mandatory death penalty when they result in death. [44] Murder of an internationally protected person is punished by the mandatory death penalty. [45] Attempting any of the above offenses similarly attracts a mandatory death sentence. [46]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Committing an act of violence likely to result in serious bodily harm, in such a way that it endangers the security of an airport or another facility, is punishable by death. [47] Exploding a bomb or releasing toxic substances; and possessing, producing or using radioactive or nuclear equipment with the intent to cause substantial harm, are punished by mandatory death when they cause “considerable economic losses”. [48] Attempting any of the above offenses similarly attracts a mandatory death sentence. [49]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Robbery preceded or followed by rape is punished by a mandatory death sentence. [50] Cattle theft preceded or followed by rape, kidnapping or the use of firearms is punished by a mandatory death sentence, [51] unless the offender returns the animal or pays compensation to the victim, in which case mitigating circumstances can be considered. [52]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Attempting a death-eligible terrorism-related offense is punished by a mandatory death sentence. [53]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No individual has been executed in Niger since 1976. [54]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Article 47 of the Penal Code provides that a minor under 18 years of age who commits a death-eligible crime will be sentenced to 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment. [55] If the minor acted without understanding his actions, he will be acquitted. [56]

In its 2008 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Niger also referred to Article 33 of Order No. 99-11 of 11 May 1999, [57] which contains the same exceptions for minors as the Penal Code. [58] We were unable to locate this Order, and are unsure what it adds to the existing Penal Code provisions.

Niger is party to the ICCPR [59] and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [60] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
Under Article 14 of the Penal Code, a pregnant woman cannot be executed before she has given birth to her child. [61] This is in conformity with Niger’s international obligations as a party to the ICCPR, [62] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women.

Women With Small Children.
Niger is party to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [63] which prohibits the imposition of a death sentence on mothers of infants and young children. [64]

Mentally Ill.
Under Article 41 of the Penal Code, a person who was insane at the time of the offense cannot be held criminally liable. [65]

References

[1] Penal Code of Niger, art. 243, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[2] Penal Code of Niger, art. 243, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[3] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.13 in conjunction with 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[4] Penal Code of Niger, art. 175, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[5] Penal Code of Niger, art. 242, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[6] Penal Code of Niger, art. 232, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[7] Penal Code of Niger, art. 243, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[8] Penal Code of Niger, art. 257, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[9] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, arts. 399.1, 399.3, 399.4, 399.7, 399.9, 399.10, 399.15, 399.16, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[10] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.13, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[11] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[12] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.4, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[13] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, arts. 399.15, 399.16, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[14] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[15] Penal Code of Niger, art. 310, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[16] Penal Code of Niger, art. 312, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[17] Penal Code of Niger, art. 324, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[18] Penal Code of Niger, arts. 62-64, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[19] Penal Code of Niger, art.83 in conjunction with arts.78, 80-82, art.85, art.87, art.90, art. 91, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[20] Penal Code of Niger, art. 87, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[21] Penal Code of Niger, art. 91, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[22] Penal Code of Niger, art. 65, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[23] Penal Code of Niger, art. 208.1, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[24] Penal Code of Niger, art. 208.2, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[25] Penal Code of Niger, art. 208.5, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[26] Penal Code of Niger, arts. 208.3, 208.4, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[27] Penal Code of Niger, art. 244, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[28] Penal Code of Niger, art. 267, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[29] Penal Code of Niger, art. 270, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[30] Kadir Abdelkader Galy, L’escalavage au Niger: Aspects historiques et juridiques, p. 119, Editions Karthala, 2010.
[31] Kadir Abdelkader Galy, L’escalavage au Niger: Aspects historiques et juridiques, p. 119, Editions Karthala, 2010.
[32] Penal Code of Niger, arts. 270.1-270.5, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[33] Penal Code of Niger, art. 243, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[34] Penal Code of Niger, art. 205, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[35] Penal Code of Niger, art. 212, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[36] Penal Code of Niger, art. 215, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[37] Penal Code of Niger, art. 2, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003. Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[38] Penal Code of Niger, art. 5, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[39] Penal Code of Niger, art. 56, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[40] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 139, n. 42, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[41] Penal Code of Niger, art. 53, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[42] Penal Code of Niger, art. 176, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[43] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, arts. 399.13, in conjunction with arts. 399.19, 399.20, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[44] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, arts. 399.1, 399.3, 399.4, 399.7, 399.9, 399.10, 399.15, 399.16, in conjunction with art. 399.20, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[45] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.13, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[46] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[47] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.4, in conjunction with art. 399.20, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[48] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, arts. 399.15, 399.16, in conjunction with art. 399.20, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[49] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[50] Penal Code of Niger, art. 310, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[51] Penal Code of Niger, art. 324, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[52] Penal Code of Niger, art. 325, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[53] Niger Law amending the Penal Code, art. 399.19, Law No. 2008-18, Jun. 23, 2008.
[54] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 411, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[55] Penal Code of Niger, art. 47, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[56] Penal Code of Niger, art. 46, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[57] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Second periodic report of States parties due in 1997, Niger, p. 31, para. 127, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NER/2, Nov. 20, 2008.
[58] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Second periodic report of States parties due in 1997, Niger, p. 76, para. 378, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NER/2, Nov. 20, 2008. See also: Niger Order, art. 33, Order No. 99-11, May 14, 1999, as partially reproduced in Nouhou Hamani Mounkaïla, Rapport de la Cour supreme du Niger sur les mineurs en danger, http://www.ahjucaf.org/spip.php?article7219, Oct. 8, 2009.
[59] 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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[60] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants , last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[61] Penal Code of Niger, art. 14, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.
[62] 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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[63] 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.
[64] 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.
[65] Penal Code of Niger, art. 41, Law No. 61-27 of Jul. 15,1961, as last amended by Law No. 2003-025 of Jun. 13, 2003.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Mar. 7, 1986. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

Yes. [4]

Date of Accession

Mar. 7, 1986. [5]

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

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. [9]

Date of Accession

Jul. 15, 1986. [10]

Signed?

Yes. [11]

Date of Signature

Jul. 9, 1986. [12]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [13]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [14]

Date of Signature

Jul. 6, 2004. [15]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [16]

Date of Accession

Dec. 11, 1996. [17]

Signed?

Yes. [18]

Date of Signature

Jul. 13, 1999. [19]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [20]

Vote

Abstained. [21]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No.

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

In Favor. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [24]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Abstained. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [27]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Abstained. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [30]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [31]

Vote

Abstained. [32]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [33]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [34]

Vote

Abstained. [35]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [36]

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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[4] 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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[7] 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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[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 Mar. 13, 2012.
[9] 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.
[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 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.
[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, 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.
[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] 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.
[21] 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.
[22] 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.
[23] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[24] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[25] 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.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[28] 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.
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[31] 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.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[34] 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.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[36] 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?

No direct reference to the death penalty is made in the new constitution, dated November 2010, which was approved by 90% of a referendum vote in October 2010. [1] However, under Article 11 of the new constitution, the human person is sacred and the State has an “absolute obligation to respect and protect it.” [2] Under Article 12, every person has “the right to life [...] under the conditions set out by law.” [3] Article 14 provides that “no-one will be subjected to torture […] or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” [4]

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

Under Article 173 of the 2010 constitution (approved by 90% of a referendum vote), [5] properly ratified treaties and agreements have an authority superior to that of national laws. [6]

Additionally, the Preamble of the Constitution proclaims the people’s attachment to human rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and all the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Niger. [7]

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

The last execution in Niger took place in 1976. [8] Death sentences continue to be pronounced by courts, but this happens very rarely according to Amnesty International. [9] In 1987, former President Saïbou announced that all death sentences confirmed on appeal would be commuted to life imprisonment. [10] Saïbou left office in 1993. Although Niger declared before the U.N. Human Rights Council that it had a de facto moratorium (see below), this is difficult to reconcile with Niger’s stance at the U.N.G.A. In 2007, [11] 2008 [12] and 2010, [13] Niger abstained from voting on the U.N.G.A. moratorium on the death penalty. In 2008 [14] and 2010, [15] it signed the Note Verbale of dissociation.

In August 2010, the Conseil Consultatif National, the transitional legislative body created after the February 2010 coup, recommended that the government “initiate a new discussion on the abolition of the death penalty.” [16] On December 13, 2010, the head of State, Djibo Salou, convened the Conseil Consultatif National for an extraordinary session, lasting five days, in order to discuss an abolition bill. [17] The Niger government wished to bring its criminal law into compliance with its international human rights obligations and with its new Constitution, all of which guarantee the right to life. [18] The bill provided that the death penalty would be abolished, that all existing death sentences would be commuted to life imprisonment, and that the death penalty would be replaced by life imprisonment in all relevant criminal legislation. [19] However, on December 16, 2010, the Conseil Consultatif rejected the bill by 40-23. [20] One year later, in November 2011, the Minister for Justice, Amadou Marou, stated that the defeat of the abolition bill was the only failure of the country’s transitional period. He explained that the Niger people were not ready, and that the conservative forces in the country had resisted abolition. [21]

At its Universal Periodic Review before the U.N. Human Rights Council in February 2011, Niger declared that it was “developing strategies for approval” of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty. [22] The government delegation added that Niger had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty, and had developed a three-pronged strategy for abolishing capital punishment. [23] Stage 1 consists in raising public awareness on death penalty issues among religious leaders, traditional chiefs, NGOs, political parties and state bodies. Stage 2 consists in ensuring public support, and stage 3 involves submitting the abolition bill to a vote. Niger explained that the three stages had not been completed when the abolition bill had been presented to the Consultative Council in 2010, and that as a result, opposition had been divided between those who thought a wider public debate necessary before any decision was taken, and those who considered that abolition was not a real domestic issue and was the result of lobbying by certain international organizations. However, the government noted that there is an abolitionist movement in Niger, and that Niger had ratified every other international human rights treaty. The government stated that it would re-engage the above strategies in order to successfully pass a law abolishing the death penalty. [24]

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

No. However, at its human rights review before the U.N. Human Rights Council in February 2011, the Niger delegation stated that Niger had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. [25] This is difficult to reconcile with Niger’s position during consideration of the U.N.G.A’s death penalty moratorium resolution. In 2008 [26] and 2010, [27] Niger signed the Note Verbale of dissociation from the U.N.G.A. moratorium on the death penalty, and abstained from voting on the resolution itself. [28]

We note that in 1987, then President Saïbou announced that all death sentences confirmed on appeal would be commuted to life imprisonment. [29] Saïbou left office in 1993.

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

In 2006, the Supreme Court overturned two death sentences issued by the Court of Assizes because the defendants had not been assisted by interpreters. [30] We do not know how frequently this issue arises.

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

Jurisprudence may be consulted on the following websites (in French):

JuriNiger: http://juriniger.org/juriniger/
Juricaf (for decisions by the highest court): http://www.juricaf.org/recherche

What is the clemency process?

It is the President’s prerogative to grant clemency. Clemency may not be granted for “imprescriptible” crimes, i.e. crimes that are not time-barred from prosecution. [31] When a final death sentence is issued, the Public Prosecutor must inform the Minister of Justice. No execution may take place before the clemency plea has been denied. [32]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Yes. Death-eligible offenses are tried by the Court of Assizes, [33] which includes four jurors. [34]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Death-eligible offenses are tried by the Court of Assizes. [35] Its decisions can be appealed within 5 days [36] to the State Court [37] (now called Court of Cassation) [38] on questions of law only. [39]

Collateral review (review on the facts) is also provided for by the Penal Procedure Code. There are four instances that can trigger a collateral review by the Supreme Court (currently the Court of Cassation). All four instances relate to the emergence of new evidence that raises doubts about the defendant’s guilt. [40]

References

[1] BBC, Niger backs constitution to end junta rule, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11684547, Nov. 3, 2010. Daily Trust, Niger: Nation’s encouraging step, http://allafrica.com/stories/201011080150.html, Nov. 8, 2010.
[2] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 11, Nov. 25, 2010.
[3] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 12, Nov. 25, 2010.
[4] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 14, Nov. 25, 2010
[5] BBC, Niger backs constitution to end junta rule, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11684547, Nov. 3, 2010. Daily Trust, Niger: Nation’s encouraging step, http://allafrica.com/stories/201011080150.html, Nov. 8, 2010.
[6] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 173, Nov. 25, 2010.
[7] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, Preamble, Nov. 25, 2010.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009. La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 411, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[9] Contrechamps, Niger: Une opportunité historique pour abolir la peine de mort, http://www.contrechamps.asso.fr/peine_de_mort_niger, Aug. 31, 2010.
[10] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[11] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[12] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[13] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[14] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[15] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[16] Contrechamps, Niger: Une opportunité historique pour abolir la peine de mort, http://www.contrechamps.asso.fr/peine_de_mort_niger, Aug. 31, 2010.
[17] Niger Decree Calling the Conseil Consultatif National to an Extraordinary Session (Décret portant convocation du Conseil Consultatif National, en session extraordinaire), Decree No. 2010-790/PCSRD, Dec. 13, 2010.
[18] Minister of Justice of Niger, Statement of reasons for the Bill Abolishing the Death Penalty in Niger, Dec. 2010.
[19] Minister of Justice of Niger, Bill Abolishing the Death Penalty in Niger, arts. 1, 2, 3, Dec. 2010.
[20] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, Niger : les membres du Conseil consultatif national contre l'abolition de la peine de mort, http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=4817, Dec. 16, 2010. 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.
[21] Agence France Presse, Peine de mort: 23 pays l’ont appliquée en 2010, risques de pas en arrière, http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=5794, Nov. 29, 2011.
[22] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 9, p. 4, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[23] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 43, p. 8, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[24] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, Addendum, paras. 10-14, p. 3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15/Add.1, Jun. 8, 2011.
[25] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 43, p. 8, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[26] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[27] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[28] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009 U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[29] La Peine de Mort dans le Monde, La peine de mort – Niger, http://www.peinedemort.org/National/pays.php?pays=184, last accessed Apr. 8, 2011.
[30] Ibrahim Elhadji Hassane and others v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06 of Apr. 13, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. Mohamed Sinniand other v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06-279 of Nov. 16, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Assizes in both of these cases and we could not find the subsequent decisions rendered by the Court of Assizes on retrial.
[31] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 72, Nov. 25, 2010.
[32] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, art. 656, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[33] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 207, 223, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[34] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 231, 276, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[35] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 207, 223, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[36] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, art. 564, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[37] Bello Mahamadou Boubacar, Regard Sur Le Systeme Juridique Et Judiciaire Du Niger, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Niger1.htm, Dec. 2011.
[38] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 136, Nov. 25, 2010.
[39] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 563, 584, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[40] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, arts. 596-599, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

As of March 2012, we were not able to determine where death-sentenced prisoners were incarcerated.

Description of Prison Conditions

As of March 2012, we were unable to find any reports on prison conditions on death row in Niger.

Prison conditions in general, however, are very poor. In December 2008, the ANDDH (Association Nigérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, or Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights) visited a number of prisons and detention centers in Niger. [1] Detainees and prison personnel complained about the lack of food, toilets and health care, about cramped cells, insufficient personnel, dilapidated facilities and a lack of separate cells for women and minors. [2] The ANDDH also reported that Niamey’s prison was overcrowded, [3] and that although prison conditions have improved over the last few years, the improvement is far from satisfactory – in particular because some members of the security forces extort confessions through violence. [4] The ANDDH also observed that six mentally ill people were detained in Kollo prison. [5] Annual human rights reports and reports on various human rights topics are available on the ANDDH’s website at: http://anddh-niger.org.

In its 2009 concluding observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concerns that children continue to be detained together with adults. [6]

A 2010 report emphasized that improvements of the prison system were hindered by the dilapidated and unsanitary infrastructure, overcrowding, police stations with little equipment, and courts lacking human and material resources. In addition, police stations face the problem of feeding persons held in custody. In practice, these persons are fed either by their families or by the police officers on duty. [7]

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

As of March 2012, we had not found any reports of foreign nationals currently under sentence of death in Niger.

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

As of March 2012, we had not found any reports of foreign nationals currently under sentence of death in Niger.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of March 2012, we had not found any reports of women currently under sentence of death in Niger.

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 March 2012, we had not found any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death in Niger who may have been under 18 at the time the crime was committed.

However, we note the concerns expressed by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child in its 2009 report. While the law prohibits applying capital punishment to minors under the age of 18, there remain situations where, in practice, “children aged 16 to 18 who commit crimes together with adults are brought before adult courts and may face the death penalty.” [8]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of March 2012, we had not found any reports on the racial/ethnic composition of death row.

In 2008, former minister and Tuareg rebel leader Rhissa Ag Boula was sentenced to death in his absence for the killing of a regional political leader in Agadez. Rhissa was allowed to leave the country in July 2010 and the Niamey Court of Appeals acquitted him in December of that year. Rhissa’s release followed the the end of the armed conflict between the government and the Tuareg in northern Niger following a 2009 peace arrangement brokered by Libya. [9]

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Under Article 262 of the Penal Procedure Code, when a defendant appears before the Court of Assizes without being represented by a counsel, the president of the court will appoint one for him. [10] As of March 2012, we were unable to ascertain whether this right is fully implemented. According to the U.S. Department of State, even if those arrested must be notified of their right to a lawyer within 24 hours. Although law enforcement officials generally enforced this practice, “widespread ignorance of the law and lack of financial means prevented many from fully exercising their right to an attorney”. [11] We were unable to ascertain whether the problems in delivering legal aid extend to those facing capital charges.

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

According to the Nigerien authorities, a legal aid system exists for the Supreme Court (now Court of Cassation), [12] but it does not function. [13]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of March 2012, we had not found any information on the quality of legal representation in Niger.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

The Nigerien justice system faces the following issues: serious backlogs, lengthy legal procedures, inadequate resources, staff shortages and corruption. [14]

In 2006, the Supreme Court overturned two death sentences issued by the Court of Assizes because the defendants had not been assisted by interpreters. [15] We do not know how frequently this issue arises.

References

[1] Association Nigerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, p. 29, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May 2009.
[2] Association Nigerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, p. 35, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May 2009.
[3] Association Nigerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, p. 36, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May 2009.
[4] Association Nigerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, p. 36, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May 2009.
[5] Association Nigerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, p. 40, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May 2009.
[6] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Concluding observations: Niger, p. 20, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NER/CO/2, Jun. 18, 2009.
[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, Niger, p. 4, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/10/NER/3, Oct. 7, 2010.
[8] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Concluding observations: Niger, p. 19, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/NER/CO/2, Jun. 18, 2009.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Niger, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154362.htm, Apr. 8, 2011
[10] Niger Code of Penal Procedure, art. 262, Law No. 61-33 of Aug. 14, 1961, last amended by Law No. 2007-04 of Feb. 22, 2007.
[11] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Niger, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154362.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.
[12] Constitution of the VII Republic of Niger, art. 136, Nov. 25, 2010.
[13] AHJUCAF, Questionnaire sur l’acces au juge de cassation, Niger, http://www.ahjucaf.org/spip.php?mot172, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[14] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Niger, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154362.htm, Apr. 8, 2011. Association Nigerienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (Niger Association for the Defense of Human Rights), Rapport annuel 2008 sur la situation des droits de l’Homme au Niger, pp. 40-41, http://anddh-niger.org/attachement/ANDDH%20RAPPORT%20ANNUEL%202008.pdf, May, 2009.
[15] Ibrahim Elhadji Hassane and others v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06 of Apr. 13, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. Mohamed Sinniand other v. Public Prosecutor, Decision No. 06-279 of Nov. 16, 2006, Supreme Court of Niger, 2006. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Assizes in both of these cases and we could not find the subsequent decisions rendered by the Court of Assizes on retrial.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

The last concluding observations issued by the U.N. Human Rights Committee date back to 1993. [1] Niger was due to submit a national report under the ICCPR in March 1994, but as of March 2012 it had not yet done so. [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Niger’s human rights review under the U.N. Universal Periodic Review process took place on February 1, 2011. At its review, Niger declared that it was “developing strategies for approval” of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty. [3] The government delegation added that Niger had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. The delegation stated that the “National Consultative Council (CCN) had issued an unfavourable opinion on the existing draft order concerning the death penalty in the hope of launching a major public debate and gaining public support. A three-pronged strategy for the adoption of the reform had already been approved, as had a timetable under which the death penalty was to be abolished before the end of the transition period. Despite the Council’s negative opinion, the process had been carried out in accordance with the timetable.” [4]

Niger accepted recommendations to introduce an official moratorium on the death penalty and to resubmit an abolition bill to the new Parliament once it is established, [5] and to abolish death sentences for persons under the age of 18. [6] With regard to recommendations to abolish the death penalty, Niger responded that it had designed a public campaign in three stages in order to prepare the passage of an abolition law and an accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. Stage 1 consists in raising public awareness on death penalty issues among religious leaders, traditional chiefs, NGOs, political parties and state bodies. Stage 2 consists in ensuring public support, and stage 3 involves submitting the abolition bill to a vote. Niger explained that the three stages had not been completed when the abolition bill had been presented to the Consultative Council in 2010, and that as a result, opposition had been divided between those who thought a wider public debate necessary before any decision was taken, and those who considered that abolition was not a preoccupation of the Niger people and was the result of lobbying by certain international organizations. However, the government noted that there is an abolitionist movement in Niger, and that Niger had ratified every other international human rights treaty. The government stated that it would re-engage the above strategies in order to successfully pass a law abolishing the death penalty. [7]

References

[1] U.N. OHCHR, Niger, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/NEIndex.aspx, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[2] U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Niger, Reporting status, http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/NewhvVAllSPRByCountry?OpenView&Start=1&Count=250&Expand=126.2#126.2, last accessed Mar. 13, 2012.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 9, p. 4, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 43, p. 8, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[5] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 76.21, p. 13, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, para. 76.22, p. 13, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15, Mar. 25, 2011.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Niger, Addendum, paras. 10-14, p. 3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/17/15/Add.1, Jun. 8, 2011.

Additional Sources and Contacts

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

Action pour une Education de qualité (Action for Quality Education)
Mr. Boubacar Inoussa
Coordinateur (Coordinator)
BP 576 Niamey, Niger
Tel: + 227 94 60 36 35
Fax: + 227 90 21 92 31
inoussa.boubacar@yahoo.fr

ROTAB (Réseau des Organisations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse Budgétaire) (Budgetary Transparence and Analysis Organizations Network)
Mr. Ali Idrissa
Coordinateur (Coordinator)
Quartier Terminus Villa 103
BP 10 468 Niarney, Niger
Tel: + 227 21 76 52 38
Fax: + 227 74 02 27
pcqvpniger@yahoo.fr
www.rotabniger.org/rotab2/index.php

SYNAFEN (Syndicat national des agents de la formation et de l'éducation du Niger) (National union of training and education agents in Niger)
Mr. Almoustapha Moussa
Secrétaire Général (Secretary General)
Bourse du Travail CGSL-Niger BP 12400
00227 Niamey, Niger
Tel: +227 21 79 33 50
Fax: +227 20 33 05 12
synafen@yahoo.fr

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., Niger, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, AFR 43/001/2010, Jul. 5, 2010.

The Association Nigérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (ANDDH) publishes yearly human rights reports, as well as thematic reports on human rights issues. They are available on http://anddh-niger.org.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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