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Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/61

E/CN.4/1998/68

          
          UNITED
          NATIONS
          Economic and Social
          Council
          COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          Fifty-fourth session
          Item 10 of the provisional agenda
          Distr.
          GENERAL
          E / CN. 4 / 1998 / 68
          23 December 1997
          Original: ENGLISH
          QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS
          IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO COLONIAL
          AND OTHER DEPENDANT COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
          Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
          Report of the Special Ra orteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, submitted
          pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/61
          CONTENTS
          Paragraphs
          Introduction . . .
          1 -
          4
          I. THE MANDATE . . .
          5 -
          10
          A. Terms of reference
          5 -
          7
          B. Violations of the right to life upon which
          the Special Rapporteur takes action . . .
          8
          5
          C. Legal framework . . .
          9
          6
          D. Methods of work . . .
          10
          6
          Page
          4
          4
          4
          E
          GE.97-l4584 (E)
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 2
          CONTENTS ( continued )
          Paragraphs Page
          11-25 6
          11 6
          12-18 7
          19-21 8
          22-25 9
          26 - 56 10
          26 - 28 10
          29 - 31 10
          32 - 35 11
          36 - 38 12
          E. Deaths due to attacks or killings by security
          forces, paramilitary groups or private forces
          cooperating with or tolerated by the State .
          F. Violations of the right to life during armed
          conflicts
          G. Expulsion, refoulement or return of persons
          to a country or place where their lives are
          in danger
          H. Genocide
          I. Deaths due to acts of omission
          3. Impunity
          K. Rights of victims
          IV. ISSUES REQUIRING THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR'S
          ATTENTION
          A. Violations of the right to life of women . .
          B. Violations of the right to life of minors .
          C. The right to life and mass exoduses . . . .
          39 - 41 13
          42 - 43 13
          44 - 45 14
          46 - 47 14
          48 - 50 14
          51 - 53 15
          54 - 56 15
          57 - 75 16
          57 - 59 16
          60 - 62 17
          63 - 64 17
          II.
          ACTIVITIES
          A. Consultations
          B. Communications
          C. Visits
          D. Other activities
          III.
          SITUATIONS INVOLVING VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHT
          TO LIFE
          A. Capital punishment
          B. Death threats
          C. Deaths in custody
          D. Deaths due to excessive use of force by
          law enforcement officials
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 3
          CONTENTS ( continued)
          Paragraphs Page
          D. Violations of the right to life of individuals
          carrying out peaceful activities in defence of
          human rights and fundamental freedoms . . . . 65 - 67 18
          E. Violations of the right to life of persons
          exercising their right to freedom of
          opinion and expression . 68 - 69 18
          F. The right to life and the administration of
          justice . 70 19
          G. Violations of the right to life of persons
          belonging to national, ethnic, religious
          or linguistic minorities . 71 - 72 19
          H. Violations of the right to life and terrorism 73 - 74 19
          I. Violations of the right to life of individuals
          who have cooperated with representatives of
          United Nations human rights bodies (reprisals) 75 20
          V. ISSUE OF SPECIAL CONCERN TO THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR 76 - 109 20
          A. Capital punishment . . . 76 - 94 20
          B. Impunity . . 95 - 101 25
          C. Cooperation with the United Nations High
          Commissioner for Human Rights and with other
          United Nations bodies 102 - 109 26
          VI. CONCLUDING REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 110 - 138 28
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 4
          Introduction
          1. This report is submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights
          resolution 1997/61 of 16 April 1997 entitled ‘ Extrajudicial, summary or
          arbitrary executions”. It is the sixth report submitted to the Commission
          on Human Rights by Bacre Waly Ndiaye and the fifteenth submitted to the
          Commission since the mandate on ‘ Summary and arbitrary executions” was
          established by Economic and Social Council resolution 1982/35 of 7 May 1982.
          2. The report, which covers communications sent and received by the
          Special Rapporteur from 2 November 1996 to 31 October 1997, is divided into
          six chapters. In chapter I, the Special Rapporteur gives an interpretation of
          the mandate entrusted to him. In chapter II, the Special Rapporteur reports
          on the activities he has undertaken in the framework of his mandate during the
          period under review. Chapter III contains an overview of the various
          situations involving violations of the right to life relevant to his mandate.
          In chapter IV, the Special Rapporteur discusses the issues requiring his
          special attention while in chapter V, he presents those issues which are of
          special concern to him. Lastly, chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur's
          concluding remarks and his recommendations aimed at ensuring more effective
          respect for the right to life.
          3. The Special Rapporteur further presents three addenda to the present
          report. Addendum 1 describes 86 country situations, which include in summary
          form the information transmitted and received by the Special Rapporteur,
          including communications received from the Government, as well as the Special
          Rapporteur' s observations where considered appropriate. Addendum 2 contains
          the report on the Special Rapporteur's visit to Sri Lanka from 25 August to
          5 September 1997, and addendum 3 the report on his visit to the United States
          of America from 21 September to 8 October 1997.
          4. The Special Rapporteur wishes to stress that the present report is only
          approximately indicative of the occurrence of violations of the right to life
          worldwide. This is mainly due to the fact that the report is exclusively
          based on information brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention. Moreover,
          the Special Rapporteur considered information regarding alleged violations of
          the right to life which occurred during 1995, 1996 and 1997.
          I. THE MANDATE
          A. Terms of reference
          5. In resolution 1997/61, the Commission on Human Rights requested the
          Special Rapporteur to continue to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary
          or arbitrary executions, to respond effectively to information which comes
          before him and to enhance further his dialogue with Governments. The
          Commission also requested the Special Rapporteur to continue monitoring the
          implementation of existing international standards on safeguards and
          restrictions relating to the imposition of capital punishment, bearing in mind
          the comments made by the Human Rights Committee in its interpretation of
          article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well
          as the Second Optional Protocol thereto.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 5
          6. In the same resolution, the Commission further requested the Special
          Rapporteur to apply a gender perspective in his work and to pay special
          attention to violations of the right to life of children, participants in
          demonstrations or other public manifestations, persons belonging to ethnic
          minorities and individuals carrying out peaceful activities in defence of
          human rights and fundamental freedoms.
          7. In other resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its
          fifty-third session, special rapporteurs were requested to pay particular
          attention to certain issues within the framework of their mandates. Those
          resolutions included: 1997/16 entitled ‘ Rights of persons belonging to
          national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities”; 1997/27 entitled
          ‘ Right to freedom of opinion and expression”; 1997/28 entitled
          ‘ Hostage-taking”; 1997/39 entitled ‘ Internally displaced persons”;
          1997/42 entitled ‘ Human rights and terrorism”; 1997/43 entitled Integrating
          the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system”;
          1997/44 entitled ‘ The elimination of violence against women”; 1997/46 entitled
          ‘ Advisory services, technical cooperation and the Voluntary Fund for Technical
          Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights”; 1997/56 entitled ‘Tooperation with
          representatives of United Nations human rights bodies”; 1997/69 entitled
          ‘ Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and
          Programme of Action”; 1997/75 entitled ‘ Human rights and mass exoduses”; and
          1997/78 entitled Wights of the Child”. In the implementation of his mandate,
          the Special Rapporteur took into consideration the requests made by the
          Commission on Human Rights in the aforementioned resolutions.
          B. Violations of the right to life upon which
          the Special Rapporteur takes action
          8. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur acted in the
          following situations:
          (a) Violations of the right to life in connection with the death
          penalty. The Special Rapporteur intervenes when capital punishment is imposed
          after an unfair trial or in the case of a breach of the right to appeal or the
          right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. The Special Rapporteur
          also undertakes action when capital punishment is imposed for crimes which
          cannot be considered ‘ most serious crimes” as stipulated in article 6,
          paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
          The Special Rapporteur may, moreover, intervene if the convicted person is
          a minor, mentally retarded or insane, a pregnant woman or a recent mother;
          (b) Death threats and fear of imminent extrajudicial executions by
          State officials, paramilitary groups, private individuals or groups
          cooperating with or tolerated by the Government, as well as by unidentified
          persons who may be linked to the categories mentioned above;
          (c) Deaths in custody owing to torture, neglect or the use of force,
          or life-threatening conditions of detention;
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          (d) Deaths due to the use of force by law enforcement officials, or
          persons acting in direct or indirect compliance with the State, when the use
          of force is inconsistent with the criteria of absolute necessity and
          proportionality;
          (e) Deaths due to the attacks or killings by security forces of the
          State, or by paramilitary groups, death squads or other private forces
          cooperating with or tolerated by the State;
          (f) Violations of the right to life during armed conflicts, especially
          of the civilian population and other non-combatants contrary to international
          humanitarian law;
          (g) Expulsion, refoulement or return of persons to a country or a
          place where their lives are in danger, as well as the prevention of persons
          seeking asylum from leaving a country where their lives are in danger through
          the closure of national borders;
          (h) Genocide;
          (i) Deaths due to acts of omission on the part of the authorities,
          including mob killings. The Special Rapporteur may take action if the State
          fails to take positive measures of a preventive and protective nature
          necessary to ensure the right to life of any person under its jurisdiction;
          (j) Breach of the obligation to investigate alleged violations of the
          right to life and to bring those responsible to justice;
          (k) Breach of the obligation to provide adequate compensation to
          victims of violations of the right to life.
          C. Legal framework
          9. For an overview of the international legal standards by which the
          Special Rapporteur is guided in his work, he makes reference to his report to
          the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-ninth session (E/CN.4/1993/46,
          paras. 42-68).
          D. Methods of work
          10. For a description of his methods of work, the Special Rapporteur refers
          to his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fiftieth session
          (E/CN.4/1994/7, paras. 13-67), as well as his subsequent reports to the
          Commission (E/CN.4/1995/61, paras. 9-11 and E/CN.4/1996/4, paras. 11-12).
          II. ACTIVITIES
          A. Consultations
          11. The Special Rapporteur presented his report to the Commission on
          Human Rights at its fifty-third session in April 1997. In May, August and
          November/December 1997, the Special Rapporteur had consultations with staff
          assisting him at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          Rights for the preparation of communications to Governments and for his
          reports to the Commission on Human Rights. Preceding the consultations in
          May, the Special Rapporteur attended a meeting of the committee responsible
          for the drafting of a Special Rapporteur's manual and the meeting of
          special rapporteurs/representatives, of experts and chairpersons of working
          groups. During these visits, the Special Rapporteur also met with the
          officer-in-charge of the Office of the High Commissioner and with the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights.
          B. Communications
          12. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur
          transmitted 122 urgent appeals to the Governments of the following
          44 countries: Albania (1), Angola (1), Argentina (2), Bahamas (1),
          Belarus (1) , Bolivia (2) , Brazil (4), Burundi (1) , Central African
          Republic (1), Chad (1), Chile (1), China (1), Colombia (24), Costa Rica (1),
          Democratic Republic of the Congo (3), Egypt (1), Ethiopia (1), Gambia (1),
          Guatemala (8), Honduras (3), India (6), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (6),
          Iraq (3), Jamaica (1), Jordan (1), Kazakhstan (1), Malaysia (1), Malawi (1),
          Mexico (5), Panama (1), Peru (2), Philippines (3), Rwanda (1), Singapore (1),
          Swaziland (1), Turkey (3), Turkmenistan (3), Ukraine (2), United Arab Emirates
          (1) , United Republic of Tanzania (2), United States of America (11) , Yemen
          (1) , Venezuela (1) and Viet Nam (1) . He further sent urgent appeals to the
          Palestinian Authority (3) and the head of the Taliban Council (1) . Among the
          urgent appeals sent by the Special Rapporteur, 12 were transmitted jointly
          with other experts of the Commission on Human Rights.
          13. Urgent appeals were sent on behalf of 3,720 persons, of whom 168 were
          identified. Urgent appeals were also sent on behalf of the following groups
          of persons: detainees in Harerge province of Ethiopia; persons on trial for
          their participation in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; the civilian population of
          north-east Choco in Colombia; members of the indigenous people Guarani-Kaiow
          in Brazil; members of the Iraqi opposition in the town of Zakho in northern
          Iraq; witnesses of the incident which took place on 14 January 1997 in
          Cavaleiro in Brazil; suspects of theft in Chad; Burundi refugees in the United
          Republic of Tanzania; officials of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions
          and other trade union activists in Swaziland; inhabitants of El Sauce
          community in Guatemala; inhabitants of the Remedios, Yondo and Cantagallo
          municipalities in Colombia; civilians and those suspected to be members of
          armed opposition groups in Agartala and Khowai subdivisions in the State of
          Tripura, India; inhabitants of the municipality of El Carmen de Atrato in the
          department of Choco, Colombia; farmers participating in demonstrations in the
          regions of Guaviare, Caqueta and Putumayo, Colombia, as well as their
          representatives; the civilian population of El Carmen de Bolivar in Colombia;
          members and leaders of the Organizaci6n Campesina de la Sierra del Sur in
          Mexico; members of the Coordinaci6n de Organismos No Gubiernamentales por la
          Paz in Mexico; Rwandese Hutu refugees in Angola; employees of the Granja
          Avicola Santa Clara in Colombia; employees of the Industria Harinera in
          Guatemala; civilian population in Urab and inhabitants of Vigia del Fuerto,
          Bocas de Bojay , Bellavista, Carillo, Mesopotamia, Bocas de Opogod6 and Guamal
          in Colombia; members of the Centro de Investigaci6n y Educati6n Popular in
          Colombia; villagers from Yesilyurt, Turkey, who acted as plaintiffs and
          witnesses in a petition filed with the European Commission on Human Rights;
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          witnesses in the case of Sarwan Singh, India; personas municipales in the
          department of Antiquia, Colombia; persons in Uvira, Sud-Kivu, Democratic
          Republic of the Congo; 140 families of the indigenous Suminao clan in the
          Philippines.
          14. In addition, the Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations regarding
          the violation of the right to life of more than 960 individuals to the
          Governments of the following 48 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain,
          Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Colombia, Cuba,
          Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia,
          Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia and East Timor, India, Iran (Islamic
          Republic of) , Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal,
          Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
          Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Tunisia, United
          Republic of Venezuela and Yemen. In addition, he sent allegations of
          violations of the right to life to the Palestinian Authority, the head of the
          Taliban Council and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
          15. Allegations of a general nature were transmitted to the Governments of
          Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Mexico,
          Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen as well
          as to the Palestinian Authority and the head of the Taliban Council.
          16. Follow-up communications were transmitted to the Governments of Algeria,
          JIIgola, Armenia, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, the Philippines
          and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, requesting
          further clarification in regard of individual allegations to which the
          Government had provided a reply.
          17. During the period under review, that is from 2 November 1996
          to 31 October 1997, the Governments of the following countries provided a
          reply to communications addressed to them during 1997 or during previous
          years: Angola, Belarus, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China,
          Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Gambia,
          Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic
          Republic of) , Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua,
          Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore,
          Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain
          and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America,
          Uruguay and Venezuela. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and the
          Turkish Cypriot community provided replies.
          18. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the Governments of Cambodia,
          Papua New Guinea, Romania and Yemen have not replied to any of the
          communications transmitted by the Special Rapporteur during the past
          three years. Moreover, he regrets that the Governments of the Democratic
          Republic of the Congo, Nepal and Pakistan did not provide replies to
          communications sent during the past two years.
          C. Visits
          19. Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/58, the Special
          Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, together with
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Zaire and a member
          of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, went to Rwanda
          during the beginning of May with the objective of carrying out a joint mission
          to investigate allegations of massacres and other issues affecting human
          rights which had arisen from the situation prevailing in eastern Zaire since
          September 1996. The independent experts of the Commission on Human Rights
          were obliged to return to Geneva without having had the possibility to enter
          eastern Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) to conduct the requested
          investigations. The members of the joint mission presented a report to the
          General Assembly at its fifty-first session (A/S1/942, annex) and its
          fifty-second session (A/52/496, annex) .
          20. In addition, the Special Rapporteur undertook a visit to Sri Lanka
          from 25 August to S September 1997 and to the United States of America
          from 21 September to 8 October 1997. The Special Rapporteur's reports on
          these missions containing his findings, conclusions and recommendations can be
          found in addenda 2 and 3 respectively to the present report.
          21. Following a letter sent during 1996, the Special Rapporteur held a
          meeting with the Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations
          Office at Geneva during the fifty-third session of the Commission on Human
          Rights, during which it was proposed that the Special Rapporteur conduct a
          visit to Algeria after the elections in June 1997. By letter dated
          13 August 1997, the Special Rapporteur inquired whether such a visit could
          take place at the end of January or beginning of February 1998. In the
          absence of a reply, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of the
          proposed dates by letter dated 17 October 1997. A subsequent response by the
          Government as well as further consultations between the Special Rapporteur and
          representatives of the Government of Algeria indicated that an appropriate
          date for a visit by the Special Rapporteur jointly with the Special Rapporteur
          on the question of torture will be discussed and established during the
          fifty-fourth session of the Commission on Human Rights. During the period
          under review, the Special Rapporteur also reiterated his interest in visiting
          India and Turkey.
          D. Other activities
          22. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur consulted
          regularly with non-governmental organizations and participated in meetings and
          conferences organized by Amnesty International (Brussels, 14 April 1997), the
          Association for the Prevention of Torture (Geneva, 3 0-31 May 1997) , the
          International Council on Human Rights Policy (Cairo, 25-30 June 1997) and the
          International Human Rights Council (New York, 21-23 October 1997) . The
          Special Rapporteur further participated in a conference on ‘ Islam and Human
          Rights” organized by the New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
          (London, 15-17 October 1997) and was invited to address the Wilton Park
          Conference on ‘ The United Nations in the Twenty-First Century” (London,
          14-16 November) .
          23. The Special Rapporteur was called as an expert before the Special
          Commission on Rwanda of the Belgian Parliament (Brussels, 16 April 1997) .
          He also acted as a resource person in a regional training seminar on human
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 10
          rights reporting organized by the International Training Centre of the
          International Labour Organization in Turin (JIItananarivo, 7-12 December 1997) .
          24. The Special Rapporteur gave several newspaper, radio and television
          interviews and participated in a British television production on his mandate
          for children from 14 to 17 years old. Moreover, he attended a conference for
          Le Monde Diplomatigue organized by Le Carrefour de la Pens&e (Le Mans, France,
          12-14 December 1997) on the crisis in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
          25. The Special Rapporteur was pleased to note the publication in 1997 of
          a revised version of Human Rights Fact Sheet No. 11, entitled Extrajudicial,
          Summary or Arbitrary Executions .
          III. SITUATIONS INVOLVING VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE
          A. Capital punishment
          26. In its resolution 1997/61, the Commission on Human Rights requested the
          Special Rapporteur to continue monitoring the implementation of existing
          international standards on safeguards and restrictions relating to the
          imposition of capital punishment, bearing in mind the comments made by the
          Human Rights Committee in its interpretation of article 6 of the International
          Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Second Optional
          Protocol thereto.
          27. In this context, the Special Rapporteur transmitted 43 urgent appeals on
          behalf of 78 identified persons as well as on behalf of groups of unidentified
          persons to the Governments of the following countries: Bahamas (1), China
          (1) , Democratic Republic of the Congo (2) , Egypt (1) , Gambia (1) , Guatemala
          (1), India (1), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (6), Iraq (1), Jamaica (1), Jordan
          (1), Kazakhstan (1), Malaysia (1), Rwanda (1), Singapore (1), Turkmenistan
          (2) , Ukraine (2), United Arab Emirates (1), United States of America (11) ,
          Viet Nam (1) and Yemen (1) . The Special Rapporteur also sent urgent appeals
          to the Palestinian Authority (3) and the head of the Taliban Council (1) .
          28. For more detailed information on capital punishment, reference is made
          to section V.A of this report.
          B. Death threats
          29. The majority of urgent appeals transmitted by the Special Rapporteur
          were aimed at preventing loss of life after he had received reports informing
          him of situations where the lives and physical integrity of persons were
          feared to be at risk. The Special Rapporteur transmitted 65 urgent appeals to
          the Governments of Argentina (2) , Belarus (1), Bolivia (2) , Brazil (4) ,
          Burundi (1) , Chile (1) , Colombia (24) , Costa Rica (1) , Guatemala (7) ,
          Honduras (3), Iraq (2), India (4), Mexico (5), Peru (2), the Philippines (3),
          Turkey (2) and Venezuela (1) . These urgent appeals concerned 88 identified
          persons and more than 1,800 unidentified persons as well as groups of persons
          such as inhabitants of certain municipalities, witnesses, indigenous groups,
          persons belonging to certain families and members of opposition parties.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          Moreover, the Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations of a general nature
          to the Government of Mexico concerning death threats received by human rights
          defenders.
          30. Persons on whose behalf the Special Rapporteur acted had received,
          directly or indirectly, death threats from State officials, paramilitary
          groups and private individuals cooperating with or tolerated by the State.
          Persons were said to have received death threats from State officials in
          Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala,
          Honduras, India, Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines and Turkey. Death threats were
          allegedly received from paramilitary groups in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and
          India. Lastly, the Special Rapporteur addressed urgent appeals to the
          Governments of Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras,
          Mexico, the Philippines and Venezuela for persons who had allegedly received
          death threats from private individuals cooperating with or tolerated by the
          authorities.
          31. The Special Rapporteur remains particularly concerned about the
          situation in Colombia where death threats against human rights activists,
          community activists and trade union leaders have become routine in recent
          years. The Special Rapporteur also notes with concern that he transmitted
          three urgent appeals to the Government of India, one on behalf of witnesses in
          a case of a disappeared person and two on behalf of persons who had cooperated
          with United Nations human rights bodies.
          C. Deaths in custody
          32. The Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations of the death in custody
          of 107 persons, of whom 89 were identified, to the Governments of the
          following countries: Algeria (1), Bahrain (2) , Brazil (4) , Cameroon (4),
          Chad (8), China (3), Colombia (2), Ecuador (3), Ethiopia (4), Gambia (1),
          Georgia (1), India (3), Israel (2), Kenya (4), Malawi (17), Mexico (8),
          Nepal (4), Pakistan (14), Peru (2), Sri Lanka (2), Tunisia (1), Turkey (8) and
          Venezuela (1); allegations were also sent to the Palestinian Authority (8) .
          Allegations of a general nature regarding the occurrence of deaths in custody
          were transmitted to the Governments of Georgia and Nepal as well as to the
          Palestinian Authority.
          33. In addition, the Special Rapporteur transmitted two urgent appeals on
          behalf of detained persons whose lives were alleged to be in danger. The
          Special Rapporteur transmitted one urgent appeal to Turkmenistan on behalf of
          a person who was reportedly imprisoned after an anti-government demonstration
          at the maximum security prison in Ashgabar alongside violent criminals,
          allegedly to put him deliberately at risk. The Special Rapporteur also sent
          an urgent appeal to Ethiopia on behalf of persons detained in what were
          alleged to be 23 secret detention centres in Deder district as well as some
          300 persons, most of them farmers, held at Harrar Central Prison after he had
          received information regarding detainees being shot and killed in detention in
          Deder district.
          34. The Special Rapporteur remains particularly concerned about the
          situation in Pakistan, as he continued to receive numerous reports of persons
          who were killed in the custody of police officials. He is also concerned
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          about the disturbing reports received regarding Ethiopia as well as about the
          situation in Chad, Turkey, and the territory under control of the Palestinian
          Authority.
          35. The Special Rapporteur is compelled to note once more that, as a general
          rule, and not only in countries where a pattern of deaths in custody exists,
          there is very little indication of effective action by the State authorities
          to bring to justice those responsible for this type of violation of the right
          to life and to compensate the families of the victims.
          D. Deaths due to excessive use of force
          by law enforcement officials
          36. The Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations regarding violations of
          the right of life of 114 persons, of whom 51 were identified, to the
          Governments of the following countries: Bahrain (1), Bolivia (16),
          Brazil (9), Chad (5), Colombia (12), Ecuador (1), India (26), Iran (Islamic
          Republic of) (27), Lesotho (5), Mexico (5), Nepal (1), Romania (3), Spain (1),
          Venezuela (1) and Yemen (1) . These included allegations of violations of the
          right to life as a consequence of excessive use of force against participants
          in demonstrations in Bahrain, Colombia, Ecuador, the Islamic Republic of Iran,
          Mexico, Nepal, Venezuela and Yemen. Allegations of a general nature relating
          to deaths due to excessive use of force were transmitted to Nepal and
          Venezuela.
          37. The Special Rapporteur also transmitted urgent appeals to the
          Governments of Albania, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and
          Swaziland with the aim of preventing deaths due to excessive use of force by
          law enforcement officials. The Special Rapporteur appealed to the Government
          of India when he was informed that the government of the State of Tripura
          reportedly had issued a statement empowering the armed forces, including the
          Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force, ‘ to fire upon or
          otherwise use force even to the causing of death, after due warning of any
          person acting in contravention of the law or any order in force prohibiting
          the assembly of five or more persons or carrying of weapons”. The Special
          Rapporteur transmitted an urgent appeal to the Government of Chad after he had
          been informed that the commander of the specialized security units of the
          National Gendarmerie had sent a telegram instructing all members of the nine
          departments of the Gendarmerie to proceed to the physical elimination of all
          thieves caught in the act.
          38. The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned about the situation in
          India where, according to numerous allegations received, security forces,
          including the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, were
          responsible for numerous violations of the right to life, in particular in
          Manipur and in Jammu and Kashmir. The Special Rapporteur is further concerned
          about the situation in Bolivia and in Brazil.
        
          
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          E. Deaths due to attacks or killings by security forces,
          paramilitary groups or private forces cooperating with
          or tolerated by the State
          39. The Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations of killings by
          security forces, by paramilitary groups or by private forces cooperating
          with or tolerated by the State which concerned 731 persons, of whom
          449 were identified. They were transmitted to the Governments of
          Argentina (1), Brazil (18), Burundi (170), Cambodia (18), Chad (23),
          China (1), Colombia (239), Cuba (4), Cyprus (1), El Salvador (3),
          Ethiopia (1) , Guatemala (7) , Honduras (2) , India (35) , Indonesia and
          East Timor (24) , the Islamic Republic of Iran (4) , Iraq (4) , Kenya (1) ,
          Mexico (17), Myanmar (8), Nepal (10), Nigeria (1), Pakistan (17), Panama (2),
          Papua New Guinea (24), Paraguay (15), Peru (1), the Philippines (3),
          Spain (1), Sri Lanka (10), Thailand (6), Togo (2), Turkey (15), Venezuela (10)
          and Yemen (1), as well as to the Palestinian Authority (2) and the head of the
          Taliban Council (30) . Furthermore, he transmitted allegations of a general
          nature to the Governments of Brazil, Cambodia, El Salvador and Peru.
          40. The Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations of deaths due to attacks
          by paramilitary groups to the Governments of Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico and
          Panama, and by private individuals cooperating with or tolerated by the State
          to the Governments of Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and
          the Philippines.
          41. The Special Rapporteur remains extremely concerned about the situation
          in Colombia where attacks conducted by members of the army and paramilitary
          groups against those believed to cooperate with the guerillas have allegedly
          led to the deaths of many innocent civilians.
          F. Violations of the right to life during armed conflicts
          42. The Special Rapporteur remains extremely concerned about the high number
          of civilians and persons hors de combat killed during internal armed conflicts
          in all regions of the world. Many thousands of persons not participating in
          armed confrontations have lost their lives as a result of the use of
          indiscriminate or disproportionate force, the utilization of anti-personnel
          mines or the blockage of goods and services, including relief assistance, in
          countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of
          the Congo and Sri Lanka.
          43. In accordance with resolution 1997/61, in which the Commission urged
          the Special Rapporteur to draw to the attention of the United Nations
          High Commissioner for Human Rights such situations of extrajudicial, summary
          or arbitrary executions as were of particularly serious concern to him or
          where early warning might prevent further deterioration, the Special
          Rapporteur on 9 July 1997 informed the officer-in-charge of the Office of the
          High Commissioner for Human Rights of his serious concern with regard to the
          situation reigning in the Congo. According to reports received by the Special
          Rapporteur, confrontations between militias of President Pascal Lissouba and
          former President Denis Sassou Nguesso, which started on 5 June 1997, had led
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          to numerous victims as a result of indiscriminate shelling on residential
          areas of Brazzaville and summary executions of civilians and combatants taken
          as prisoners.
          G. Expulsion, refoulement or return of persons to a
          country or place where their lives are in danger
          44. The Special Rapporteur transmitted urgent appeals to the Governments of
          JIIgola, Malawi, Panama, Turkey and the United Republic of Tanzania on behalf
          of persons or groups of persons who were reportedly at risk of imminent
          extradition, refoulement or return to countries where there were serious
          grounds to believe that their lives were at risk.
          45. One urgent appeal transmitted to the Government of the United Republic
          of Tanzania concerned Burundian refugees, the other some 100 Zairian
          nationals, some of them prominent members of President Mobutu's party and some
          known as political opponents or critics of the Alliance of Democratic Forces
          for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire. The urgent appeal transmitted to Turkey
          concerned an Iranian asylum seeker who reportedly entered Turkey illegally
          and was to be returned to the Islamic Republic of Iran within five days of
          arrival, despite the fact that several members of his family had been executed
          in Iran and he was being sought by the authorities. The urgent appeal sent to
          Malawi concerned some 765 Rwandese refugees and some 470 refugees from the
          Democratic Republic of the Congo who were allegedly in the process of being
          forcibly returned to their countries despite alarming reports of massive human
          rights violations. The urgent appeal which the Special Rapporteur transmitted
          to the Government of Panama was sent on behalf of 400 farmers and their
          families who were reportedly being returned to Colombia despite their lives
          allegedly being at risk.
          H. Genocide
          46. The Special Rapporteur continued to observe a great reluctance on the
          part of the international community to use the term ‘ genocide”, even when
          referring to situations of grave violations of the right to life which seem to
          match clearly the criteria contained in article II of the Convention on the
          Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
          47. The Special Rapporteur remains extremely concerned about the situation
          in the Great Lakes region. The joint mission charged with investigating
          allegations of massacres and other human rights violations in eastern Zaire
          (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) since September 1996 noted in its
          report to the General Assembly (A/51/942, annex), with regard to the ethnic
          massacres whose victims were mostly Hutus from Burundi, Rwanda and former
          Zaire, that its preliminary opinion was that some of the alleged massacres
          could constitute acts of genocide and that an in-depth investigation in the
          territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo could clarify this
          situation.
          I. Deaths due to acts of omission
          48. The Special Rapporteur received information on deaths which allegedly
          occurred due to authorities' failure to prevent mobs from carrying out
        
          
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          so-called ‘ popular justice” in Guatemala and Mexico. The Special Rapporteur
          is aware that in many other countries hundreds of people were lynched or set
          on fire because they were suspected of theft. He is particularly concerned
          that in Ghana, C6te d'Ivoire and, more recently, Senegal persons, in
          particular foreigners, were reportedly killed by mobs after having been
          accused of ‘ stealing a person's sexual organs” through the most simple
          physical contact such as shaking hands.
          49. The Special Rapporteur transmitted an allegation to the Government
          of Mexico concerning three persons accused of murder who were killed on
          1 January 1996 by a mob in Rio Chiquito. The Special Rapporteur also
          transmitted an allegation to the Government of Guatemala on behalf of four
          persons, including a clergyman, killed on 13 November 1996 by a mob in
          Momstenango, Totonicapan. In relation to this incident, the Special
          Rapporteur was informed that the police had mistaken them for robbers of
          a bus.
          50. The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned about the situation in
          Algeria where security forces reportedly in some cases did not intervene,
          either to protect those who were being killed or to arrest those responsible
          for the massacres, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.
          According to information brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention, many
          massacres of civilians in Algeria have taken place around the capital at very
          short distances from security forces' barracks and outposts.
          J. Impunity
          51. Governments have an obligation to carry out exhaustive and impartial
          investigations into allegations of violations of the right to life, to
          identify, bring to justice and punish perpetrators, as well as to take
          effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations. The Special
          Rapporteur notes that in most of the countries where violations of the right
          to life were committed, perpetrators have not systematically been brought to
          justice. Moreover, in certain countries he notes a climate of impunity which
          leads to further violations of the right to life. In fact, the Special
          Rapporteur considers impunity to be the principal cause of the perpetuation
          and encouragement of human rights violations, including extrajudicial, summary
          or arbitrary executions.
          52. Allegations relating to situations of impunity were transmitted to the
          Governments of Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Papua New Guinea.
          53. For more detailed information on impunity, reference is made to
          section V.B of this report.
          K. Rights of victims
          54. The right of victims or their families to receive fair and adequate
          compensation within a reasonable period of time is both a recognition of the
          State's responsibility for the acts committed by its personnel and an
          expression of respect for the human being. Granting compensation presupposes
          compliance with the obligation to conduct investigations into allegations of
          violations of the right to life with a view to identifying and prosecuting the
        
          
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          alleged perpetrators. Compensation and other types of support or assistance
          provided to the victims' families before such investigations are initiated or
          concluded do not exempt Governments from this obligation.
          55. The Special Rapporteur is concerned about the numerous reports he
          received which indicate that in many cases of violations of the right to
          life no compensation was provided. The absence of compensation to victims'
          families seems to be the corollary of impunity. The Special Rapporteur
          continues to regret that, despite his requests in letters transmitting alleged
          cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, very few States have
          provided him with information in this regard.
          56. The Special Rapporteur also notes once more that neither of the two
          Security Council resolutions establishing international criminal tribunals for
          the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda contain provisions concerning compensation
          for victims or their families while individuals, Governments or organizations
          which suffered losses and damages as a direct result of Iraq's invasion and
          occupation of Kuwait may receive compensation from the United Nations
          Compensation Commission. The Special Rapporteur holds the opinion that the
          establishment of an international fund for reparation payments should be
          considered so as to allow for fair and adequate compensation to the victims'
          families in accordance with paragraph 20 of the Principles on the Effective
          Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
          IV. ISSUES REQUIRING THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR'S ATTENTION
          A. Violations of the right to life of women
          57. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur took action on
          behalf of more than 80 identified women, including some female minors. The
          Special Rapporteur transmitted 15 urgent appeals on behalf of 26 women to the
          Governments of Argentina, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala,
          Honduras, Iraq and Mexico. In addition, the Special Rapporteur acted on
          55 cases of violations of the right to life of women said to have occurred in
          Bolivia (2), Cambodia (10), Chad (2), China (1), Colombia (7), Ecuador (1),
          Guatemala (1), India (4), Indonesia and East Timor (1), the Islamic Republic
          of Iran (2), Mexico (4), Myanmar (2), Nigeria (1), Papua New Guinea (6),
          Peru (1), Spain (1), Sri Lanka (2), Thailand (2), Turkey (2), Venezuela (1)
          and the territory under control of the Palestinian Authority (2) .
          58. It should be noted that the figures mentioned above do not necessarily
          show the actual number of women on whose behalf the Special Rapporteur
          intervened. First, they reflect only those cases in which it was specifically
          indicated that the victim was female. Second, some allegations transmitted by
          the Special Rapporteur refer to groups of unidentified persons which likely
          included women. It is a fact that women and children are the main victims of
          armed conflict and civil unrest.
          59. Most of the women on whose behalf the Special Rapporteur took action
          were women who received death threats or were killed in attacks or killings by
          security forces of the State or paramilitary groups. In Sri Lanka, several
          women had allegedly been gang-raped before being killed. The Special
          Rapporteur is particularly appalled at what seems to be deliberate targeting
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          of women and children by groups of killers in Algeria. He is also distressed
          by information brought to his attention according to which a pregnant woman
          accused of theft was killed upon arrest by gendarmes in Chad.
          B. Violations of the right to life of minors
          60. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur took action on
          behalf of 53 minors. He transmitted four urgent appeals on behalf of 9 minors
          to the Governments of Colombia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mexico and the
          United States of America. The urgent appeal transmitted to Iran concerned
          2 minors who had reportedly been sentenced to death for murder, while the
          urgent appeal sent to the United States concerned a minor, a South African
          national, who was reportedly facing the death penalty in Mississippi. The
          urgent appeals sent to Colombia and Mexico concerned minors whose lives were
          feared to be threatened. It should be noted that children were mainly
          threatened with death because of their link to an adult.
          61. The Special Rapporteur transmitted alleged cases of violations of the
          right to life of minors to the Governments of Bolivia (3), Brazil (7),
          Cambodia (8), Chad (1), Colombia (2), El Salvador (2), Guatemala (1),
          India (3), Mexico (3), Nepal (1), Papua New Guinea (4), Sri Lanka (1),
          Turkey (4), Venezuela (3) and to the Palestinian Authority (1) . These
          included children who had died in custody or as a result of excessive use of
          force as well as in attacks or killings committed by security forces or
          paramilitary groups. Moreover, allegations of a general nature relating to
          the killing of children by members of the police were transmitted to the
          Government of Brazil.
          62. In countries such as Algeria, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
          Congo and Sri Lanka, children continued to be killed in the context of armed
          conflict and internal strife. The Special Rapporteur is distressed that many
          children were reportedly among the victims of massacres in the Democratic
          Republic of the Congo. The Special Rapporteur is also appalled at what seems
          to be deliberate targeting of children and women by groups of killers in
          Algeria. He further notes with grave concern that in Cambodia a group of six
          children aged between 2 and 8 were reportedly killed when a member of the
          ‘ Special Military Region Forces” launched a rocket in the direction of the
          children.
          C. The right to life and mass exoduses
          63. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur was informed of
          large-scale human rights violations, including violations of the right to
          life, which led to massive displacement of populations in Colombia, the Congo,
          the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sri Lanka. In Colombia and
          Sri Lanka as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo it was further
          reported that refugees and internally displaced persons were victims of
          violations of the right to life. In addition, the Special Rapporteur was
          informed of violations of the right to life of refugees from Myanmar in
          Thailand. According to the source of the information, attacks by government
          troops and/or members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a Karen militia
          allegedly backed by the Government, on several camps of Myanmar refugees in
          Thailand led to several deaths.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          64. In addition, the Special Rapporteur sent urgent appeals on behalf of
          several groups of refugees who were allegedly facing forcible return to their
          home countries despite the fact that their lives were reported to be at risk.
          He transmitted two urgent appeals to the Government of the United Republic of
          Tanzania and one to the Governments of Malawi and Panama (see para. 44) .
          D. Violations of the right to life of individuals
          carrying out peaceful activities in defence of
          human rights and fundamental freedoms
          65. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur transmitted
          urgent appeals on behalf of 31 persons carrying out peaceful activities in
          defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms requesting the Governments
          concerned to take the necessary measures to protect their right to life. The
          action undertaken by the Special Rapporteur was on behalf of human rights
          defenders threatened in the following countries: Argentina (1), Belarus (1),
          Bolivia (2), Chile (3), Colombia (9), Guatemala (4), Honduras (2), India (2),
          Mexico (2), Philippines (4) and Venezuela (1) .
          66. In addition, the Special Rapporteur transmitted allegations of
          violations of the right to life of 13 human rights defenders, including
          Ghulam Rasool Sheikh killed in India, Felipe Pablo Benitez killed in Paraguay
          and Mariela Lucy Barreto Riofano in Peru. The following 10 human rights
          activists were reportedly killed in Colombia: Alfredo Basante, Alvaro Nelson
          Suarez G6mez, Carlos Mario Calder6n, Elsa Constanza Alvarado, Gerardo Estrada
          Yaspuesan, Heft G6mez Osorio, Jafeth Morales, Jorge Conde, Marco Antonio
          Nasner and Margarita Guzman Restrepo.
          67. The Special Rapporteur continues to be concerned at the large scale on
          which threats against and violations of the right to life of human rights
          defenders are occurring in various countries in the world. The Special
          Rapporteur is particularly appalled at the situation in Colombia where human
          rights defenders seem to be one of the target groups for extrajudicial,
          summary or arbitrary executions and where measures aiming at their protection
          seem ineffective.
          E. Violations of the right to life of persons exercising
          their right to freedom of opinion and expression
          68. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur took action on
          behalf of a wide variety of persons falling within this category, including
          journalists, members of political parties and trade unions, as well as
          participants in demonstrations. Allegations of violations of the right to
          life of 85 persons exercising their right to freedom of opinion and
          expression were transmitted to the Governments of the following countries:
          Argentina (1), Bolivia (10), Cambodia (12), Chad (3), China (1), Colombia (1),
          India (24), Indonesia and East Timor (1), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (4),
          Iraq (4), Mexico (16), Nepal (2), Pakistan (1), Spain (1), Tunisia (1),
          Turkey (1), Venezuela (1) and Yemen (1).
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          69. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur transmitted 17 urgent appeals on behalf
          of persons exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression to the
          Governments of Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, the Islamic Republic of Iran,
          Iraq, Peru, Turkmenistan and Swaziland.
          F. The right to life and the administration of justice
          70. During the period under review the Special Rapporteur undertook action
          on behalf of 29 persons involved in or related to the administration of
          justice, including prosecutors, judges, lawyers, plaintiffs and witnesses.
          The Special Rapporteur sent an alleged case of a violation of the right to
          life of a lawyer to the Government of Kenya. Further, he sent urgent appeals
          to the Governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, India, the Islamic
          Republic of Iran, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Turkey with the aim of
          preventing loss of life of persons related to the administration of justice.
          G. Violations of the right to life of persons belonging to
          national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities
          71. The Special Rapporteur took action on behalf of a variety of persons
          belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. The
          Special Rapporteur sent urgent appeals on behalf of 3 indigenous persons
          belonging to the Tolupan in Honduras, 140 indigenous families from the Suminao
          Clan in the Philippines, 2 persons who adopted the Baha'i faith in the Islamic
          Republic of Iran as well as members of the Guarani-Kaiow indigenous community
          in Brazil, requesting the authorities to take the necessary measures to
          protect their right to life.
          72. In addition, the Special Rapporteur acted on behalf of the following
          persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities
          whose right to life was reportedly violated: 8 indigenous persons in
          Colombia; 2 indigenous persons in Guatemala; 2 persons belonging to the
          Tolupan indigenous group in Honduras; 2 indigenous persons in Mexico;
          3 persons belonging to the Suminao Clan in the Philippines; 1 person belonging
          to the Roma minority in Romania; several persons belonging to the Karen ethnic
          minority and 1 person belonging to the Karenni ethnic minority, all having
          fled from Myanmar to Thailand; 2 villagers belonging to the Shan ethnic
          minority in Myanmar.
          H. Violations of the right to life and terrorism
          73. The Special Rapporteur notes that violent acts committed by terrorist
          groups do not fall within the purview of his mandate which allows him to take
          action when perpetrators are believed to have a link with the State. However,
          the Special Rapporteur is aware of violence committed by armed opposition
          groups resorting to terrorism as a tactic of armed struggle against
          Governments. He is aware that violent acts committed by such groups have led
          to the killing of many civilians in particular in Algeria and Sri Lanka, as
          well as in Egypt, Israel, the territory under control of the Palestinian
          Authority and Turkey.
          74. Once more, the Special Rapporteur expresses his repugnance at
          terrorists' acts which claim the lives of a large number of innocent
        
          
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          civilians. Although the Special Rapporteur understands the difficulties that
          the concerned Governments face in fighting terrorism, he notes with concern
          that in some countries Governments have adopted counter-insurgency strategies
          aimed at targeting those suspected of being members, collaborators or
          sympathizers of those groups, leading to further violations of the right to
          life. In this context, the Special Rapporteur emphasizes once more that the
          right to life is absolute and must be respected even under the most difficult
          circumstances.
          I. Violations of the right to life of individuals who have
          cooperated with representatives of United Nations human
          rights bodies (reprisals )
          75. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur sent five urgent
          appeals on behalf of 13 persons who had cooperated with representatives of
          United Nations human rights bodies and who had received death threats,
          requesting the Government to take the necessary measures to protect their
          right to life. The urgent appeals were sent on behalf of the following
          persons: Firdous Asime, Director of the Institute of Kashmir Studies in
          India, who attended the forty-ninth session of the Sub-Commission on
          Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in 1997;
          Ghulam Muhammad Ehat, a well-known Kashmir human rights activist who attended
          the 1995 session of the Sub-Commission; Gustavo Gall6n Giraldo from Colombia
          who attended the fifty-third session of the Commission on Human Rights; judges
          and lawyers involved in the Kuratong Baleleng case, which was transmitted by
          the Special Rapporteur to the Government of the Philippines during 1996;
          Bel&n Torres C rdenas and Raili Emilio Ramos of the Asociaci6n Nacional de
          Usuarios Campesinos - Unidad y Reconstrucci6n who attended several meetings at
          the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
          V. ISSUES OF SPECIAL CONCERN TO THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
          A. Capital punishment
          76. The Special Rapporteur notes that the death penalty is an exception to
          the fundamental right to life and, as an exception, it must be interpreted
          restrictively. The Special Rapporteur believes that because of the
          irreparability of the loss of life, the imposition of a capital sentence
          must fully respect all restrictions imposed by the pertinent international
          instruments on this matter. In addition, the application of these
          restrictions must be guaranteed in each and every case. The Special
          Rapporteur undertakes action in cases of capital punishment in which
          international restrictions, which are analysed in the following paragraphs,
          are not respected. In such cases, the carrying out of a death sentence may
          constitute a form of summary or arbitrary execution.
          77. As in previous years, the Special Rapporteur's action in response to
          allegations of violations of the right to life in connection with capital
          punishment continued to be guided by three main principles: the desirability
          of the abolition of the death penalty; the need to ensure the highest possible
          standards of independence, competence, objectivity and impartiality of judges
          and full respect of guarantees for a fair trial; and the observance of special
          restrictions on the application of the death penalty.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          1. Desirability of the abolition of the death penalty
          78. Although capital punishment is not yet prohibited under international
          law, the desirability of its abolition has been strongly reaffirmed on various
          occasions by United Nations organs and bodies in the field of human rights.
          In addition to those listed in his previous report (E/CN.4/1997/60,
          para. 75 (a)-(e)), the Special Rapporteur notes the adoption of Commission on
          Human Rights resolution 1997/12 of 3 April 1997 on the question of the death
          penalty. For the first time, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a
          resolution on capital punishment in which it called upon all States ‘ that have
          not yet abolished the death penalty progressively to restrict the number of
          offences for which the death penalty may be imposed”. It further called on
          States to consider suspending executions, with a view to abolishing the death
          penalty.
          79. The Special Rapporteur also recalls that, on a regional level, new
          members of the Council of Europe are required to sign within one year, and
          ratify within three years of joining the organization, the Optional Protocol
          No. 6 to the European Convention, aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and
          are also required to place an immediate moratorium on executions.
          80. The Special Rapporteur regrets that several countries which, despite
          legislation allowing for capital punishment, had not carried out death
          sentences in many years resumed executions during 1997. He was informed
          that in February 1997, Zambia carried out the first execution since 1989.
          According to the information received eight men were secretly executed at
          Mukobeko maximum security prison. Burundi was also said to have carried out
          its first executions since 1981, hanging six men in the grounds of the prison
          in Bujumbura.
          81. Given that the loss of life is irreparable, the Special Rapporteur
          strongly supports the conclusions of the Human Rights Committee in its
          comments on article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
          Rights (see HRI/GEN/1/Rev.2 of 29 March 1966) and emphasizes that the
          abolition of capital punishment is most desirable in order to fully
          respect the right to life. In this context, he welcomes the fact that, on
          3 July 1997, the President of Poland signed into law a new Penal Code
          abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.
          2. Fair trial
          82. In monitoring the application of existing standards relating to the
          death penalty, as he has been requested by the Commission on Human Rights
          since 1993, the Special Rapporteur has directed his attention in particular to
          trial procedures leading to the imposition of capital punishment. All
          safeguards and due process guarantees, both at pre-trial stages and during the
          actual trial, must be fully respected in every case, as provided for by
          several international instruments.
          83. The Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate that proceedings leading to
          the imposition of capital punishment must conform to the highest standards of
          independence, competence, objectivity and impartiality of judges and juries,
          in accordance with the pertinent international legal instruments. All
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
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          defendants facing the imposition of capital punishment must benefit from the
          services of a competent defence counsel at every stage of the proceedings.
          Defendants must be presumed innocent until their guilt has been proved beyond
          a reasonable doubt, in strict application of the highest standards for the
          gathering and assessment of evidence. In addition, all mitigating factors
          must be taken into account. In this context, the Special Rapporteur wishes to
          express once again his concern about the existence of laws, particularly those
          relating to drugs offences in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, where
          the presumption of innocence is not fully guaranteed, as the burden of proof
          lies partially on the accused. Moreover, these laws, owing to their strict
          formulation, do not leave any discretion to the judge to personalize the
          sentence or to take into account mitigating circumstances, giving them no
          other option than the mandatory imposition of the death penalty once the
          conclusion is reached that the defendant is guilty.
          84. The Special Rapporteur shares the view of the Human Rights Committee and
          believes that imposing a sentence of death upon the conclusion of a trial in
          which the basic fair trial standards, as provided for in article 14 of the
          International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, were not ensured,
          constitutes a violation of the right to life, should the execution be carried
          out.
          85. During the period under review, Egypt, India, Iraq, the Islamic Republic
          of Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Ukraine, the United States of America and
          Yemen as well as the Palestinian Authority were reported to have imposed death
          sentences after proceedings in which the defendants did not fully benefit from
          the rights and guarantees for a fair trial contained in the pertinent
          international instruments. The Special Rapporteur is of the opinion that even
          in those cases where the law in force in a country is in accordance with fair
          trial standards as contained in international instruments, the application of
          these standards in each death penalty case has to be ensured. Particularly
          disturbing reports were received relating to the imposition and execution of
          death sentences in that part of Afghanistan under the de facto control of the
          Taliban movement. According to the information received, persons were
          sentenced to death by Islamic courts set up by the Taliban authorities which
          were reportedly composed of judges many of whom were virtually untrained in
          law. It was reported that such courts often decided many cases a day in
          sessions which might have taken only a few minutes. It was further reported
          that death penalties were sometimes imposed and executed on the orders of
          Taliban commanders or Taliban prison guards.
          86. Furthermore, proceedings must guarantee the right of review of both
          the factual and legal aspects of the case by a higher tribunal, composed of
          judges other than those who dealt with the case at first instance. The
          defendant's right to seek pardon, commutation of the sentence or clemency
          must also be guaranteed. In this context, the Special Rapporteur was
          informed that in Georgia in several cases, including those of Irakli Dokvadze,
          Petre Gelbakhiani and Badri Zarandia, death sentences were passed by the
          Supreme Court of Georgia acting as a court of first instance with the official
          verdict said to record that the sentence was final and not subject to appeal.
          Moreover, the Special Rapporteur took action on behalf of persons facing
        
          
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          execution and whose right to appeal and/or to seek pardon or commutation of
          the sentence was not respected in the Bahamas, the Democratic Republic of
          the Congo and Turkmenistan.
          87. A preoccupying issue that continues to be brought to the Special
          Rapporteur's attention concerns decisions by defendants who have been
          sentenced to death not to appeal to a higher jurisdiction or to request
          clemency or pardon, and to accept the imposition of the death penalty. In
          this context, the Special Rapporteur strongly shares the view expressed by the
          Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1989/64 of 24 May 1989 entitled
          ‘ Implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of
          those facing the death penalty”, in which the Council recommended that Member
          States provide for mandatory appeals or review with provisions for clemency or
          pardon in all cases of capital offence. The Special Rapporteur transmitted
          one urgent appeal on behalf of a person who had chosen to abandon his appeals
          in the United States.
          88. The Special Rapporteur also remains concerned about the imposition of
          the death penalty by special jurisdictions. These jurisdictions are often set
          up as a response to acts of violence committed by armed opposition groups or
          in situations of civil unrest, in order to speed up proceedings leading to
          capital punishment. Such special courts often lack independence, since
          sometimes the judges are accountable to the executive, or are military
          officers on active duty. Time limits, which are sometimes set for the
          conclusion of the different trial stages before such special jurisdictions,
          gravely affect the defendant's right to an adequate defence. Limitations
          on the right to appeal are also of concern in the context of special
          jurisdictions. The Special Rapporteur was further informed that in Pakistan,
          death sentences imposed in trials before special courts for the suppression of
          terrorist activities reportedly fall short of international standards of fair
          trial insofar as they do not proceed from the presumption of innocence.
          89. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned about the situation of
          foreigners being sentenced to death. He was informed that in the
          United States of America, more than 60 foreign nationals have been
          sentenced to death without having been informed of their right under the
          Vienna Convention to receive assistance from their consulate. He was also
          informed that in 1997, more than 70 foreign nationals have been executed in
          Saudi Arabia.
          90. The Special Rapporteur recalls that in previous reports to the
          Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly he referred to the 1993
          judgement of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland, the supreme judicial instance for the member States of the
          Commonwealth, in which it was held that awaiting the execution of a death
          sentence for five years after it had been handed down constituted in itself
          cruel and inhuman punishment. Shortly before the finalization of this report,
          the Special Rapporteur was informed that, in October 1996, the Privy Council
          ruled that, in the Bahamas, it may be considered cruel or inhuman to execute a
          prisoner who has been on death row for more than three and a half years.
          According to the information received, the Privy Council was of the view that
          the five-year ruling was not to be regarded as a fixed limit applicable in all
          cases, but as a norm which may be departed from if circumstances so require.
        
          
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          In this regard, the Special Rapporteur has expressed concern, on several
          occasions, that such decisions might encourage Governments to carry out death
          sentences more speedily, which, in turn, might affect the defendants' rights
          to full appeal procedures. In this sense, he wishes to reiterate that this
          judgement should be interpreted in the light of the desirability of the
          abolition of the death penalty. To solve the problem of the anguish of
          awaiting execution on death row by executing the person faster is simply
          unacceptable.
          3. Restrictions on the use of the death penalty
          91. As noted in his previous report (E/CN.4/1997/60, para. 88), capital
          punishment is prohibited for juvenile offenders under international law.
          During 1997, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent appeal on behalf of
          a juvenile, a South African national, who was reportedly facing a death
          sentence in the United States of America. The Special Rapporteur was
          subsequently informed by the Government that he was no longer facing capital
          punishment. In addition, the Special Rapporteur took action on behalf of two
          minors sentenced to death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Special
          Rapporteur was also informed that a 17-year-old was reportedly executed in
          Owerri, Imo State, south-east Nigeria, in July 1997. Reportedly, he was 15 at
          the time he committed the crime.
          92. In this respect, the Special Rapporteur wishes to express his utmost
          concern about information according to which, since 1990, the Islamic Republic
          of Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America and
          Yemen have executed prisoners who were under 18 years of age at the time of
          the crime. In this context, reports were received relating to the approval of
          a draft bill in Pakistan, the Child Offenders Bill, which maintains capital
          punishment for minors as of the age of 16.
          93. The Special Rapporteur also took action on behalf of two mentally
          retarded persons on whom capital punishment was imposed in the United States.
          The Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death
          penalty stipulate that the death penalty shall not be carried out on persons
          who have become insane. In addition, in paragraph 1 (d) resolution 1989/64,
          the Economic and Social Council recommended that States further strengthen the
          protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty by eliminating the
          death penalty for persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely
          limited mental competence, whether at the stage of sentence or execution.
          94. It is worth emphasizing again that article 6, paragraph 2, of the
          International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that, ‘tin
          countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be
          imposed only for the most serious crimes” and that in its comments on
          article 6, paragraph 91, the Human Rights Committee stated that the expression
          ‘ most serious crimes” must be read restrictively to mean that the death
          penalty should be a quite exceptional measure. In addition, paragraph 1 of
          the Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death
          penalty, states that the scope of crimes subject to the death penalty should
          not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave
          consequences. The Special Rapporteur concludes from this, that the death
          penalty should be eliminated for crimes such as economic crimes and
        
          
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          drug-related offences. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur wishes to
          express his concern at reports he received concerning the imposition of the
          death penalty for economic and/or drug-related offences in China, the
          Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia,
          Singapore and Viet Nam. The Special Rapporteur's attention was further drawn
          to reports relating to the situation in Yemen where many of the offences
          punishable by death are reportedly vaguely worded and could easily be misused
          to convict persons carrying out activities which amount to no more than the
          peaceful expression of their conscientiously held beliefs, including their
          political opinion.
          B. Impunity
          95. States have an obligation to conduct exhaustive and impartial
          investigations into allegations of violations of the right to life, to
          identify and bring to justice the perpetrators, to grant adequate compensation
          to the victims or their families and to take effective measures to avoid the
          recurrence of such violations. ‘
          96. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that impunity remains the principal
          cause for the perpetuation of violations of human rights and particularly
          those of the right to life. The manner in which a Government reacts to human
          rights violations committed by its agents, through action or omission, clearly
          shows the degree of its willingness to ensure effective protection of human
          rights. Very often, statements and declarations in which Governments proclaim
          their commitment to respect human rights are contradicted by a practice of
          violations and impunity. The Special Rapporteur considers that even if in
          exceptional cases Governments may decide that perpetrators should benefit from
          measures that would exempt them from or limit the extent of their punishment,
          the obligation of Governments to bring them to justice and hold them formally
          accountable stands. 2
          97. Impunity has further been encouraged by problems related to the
          functioning of the judiciary, in particular its lack of independence and
          impartiality. In some countries there is no independent judiciary that could
          conduct investigations into violations of the right to life, while in others
          the justice system does not function in practice. Where the justice system
          does not function properly it is desirable that reforms be implemented to
          enable the judiciary to fulfil its functions effectively. In some cases,
          which warrant particular treatment because of their special nature or gravity,
          Governments may envisage establishing special commissions of inquiry, which
          must fulfil the same requirements of independence, impartiality and competence
          as judges in ordinary courts. The results of their investigations should be
          made public and their recommendations binding on the authorities. The Special
          Rapporteur is concerned that in some cases recommendations made by such
          commissions are not followed in practice, or do not fulfil the above-mentioned
          requirements and become tools to evade the obligation to undertake thorough,
          prompt and impartial investigations into violations of the right to life. The
          Special Rapporteur also remains concerned about the prosecution of members of
          the security forces before military courts, where they may evade punishment
          because of an ill-conceived esprit de corps .
        
          
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          98. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur continued to
          receive information relating to impunity. With regard to the situation in
          Guatemala, it was brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention that security
          forces continued to interfere in the justice system, affecting its
          independence and contributing to impunity. According to the information
          received, the population has no confidence in the justice system, many
          violations of the right to life which occurred in 1996 not having been
          investigated and perpetrators not been brought to justice.
          99. With regard to the situation in Colombia, the Special Rapporteur's
          attention was again drawn to reports relating to the impunity enjoyed by
          paramilitary groups which continued to commit systematic violations of the
          right to life with the acquiescence of members of the armed forces.
          100. It was further brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention, that on
          the Papua New Guinean island of Bougainville a culture of impunity, created by
          poor discipline and a weak chain of command in the armed forces combined with
          an unwillingness to hold individuals responsible for their deeds, contributed
          to a continuation of killings on the island. The source of the information
          was reportedly aware of the thorough investigation of only one alleged
          violation of the right to life committed since 1989 and of no persons
          prosecuted for violations of the right to life.
          101. The Special Rapporteur is distressed that impunity prevailing in the
          Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in Kivu, and in the Great Lakes
          region as a whole has resulted in further cycles of violence.
          C. Cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner
          for Human Rights and with other United Nations bodies
          102. The Special Rapporteur continues to accord great importance to
          cooperation with other United Nations bodies dealing with issues related to
          his mandate. This cooperation has taken the form of consultations, either on
          questions concerning the day-to-day operation of his mandate, or in the
          preparation of, and during, on-site visits. Thus, pursuant to
          resolution 1997/58 of the Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur
          participated, together with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
          rights in Zaire and a member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary
          Disappearances, in a mission charged with investigating allegations of
          massacres and other human rights violations occurring in eastern Zaire (now
          the Democratic Republic of the Congo) since September 1996. The team, which
          did not receive authorization to enter eastern Zaire, as noted in paragraph 19
          above, presented reports to the General Assembly in this regard.
          103. Cooperation with other Special Rapporteurs, particularly with the
          Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture and country-specific rapporteurs,
          continued during 1997 in the form of joint urgent appeals. Further, the
          annual meeting of special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and
          chairpersons of working groups of the Commission on Human Rights, which was
          held in Geneva from 21 to 23 May 1997, was another opportunity for the various
          mechanisms of the Commission to discuss matters of common interest and
          concern.
        
          
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          104. During 1997, coordination with different United Nations procedures was
          strengthened. Information was exchanged with the Human Rights Committee and
          the Committee on the Rights of the Child on issues relating to the right to
          life. Contacts with United Nations field offices, including offices of the
          High Commissioner for Human Rights, have continued. During field missions,
          the Special Rapporteur cooperated in particular with the United Nations
          Development Programme, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
          Refugees and United Nations information centres.
          105. One of the aspects which the Special Rapporteur considers of utmost
          importance is his cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
          The Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1997/61, urged the Special
          Rapporteur to draw to the attention of the High Commissioner such situations
          of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions as were of particularly
          serious concern to him or where early action might prevent further
          deterioration.
          106. Thus, on 9 July 1997, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a letter to
          Mr. Ralph Zacklin, officer in charge of the Office of the High Commissioner
          for Human Rights, expressing concern at the situation in the Congo,
          particularly since clashes between the militias of President Pascal Lissouba
          and former President Denis Sassou Nguesso were said to have caused a great
          number of victims.
          107. Further, by letter dated 25 July 1997, the Special Rapporteur brought to
          the attention of the officer in charge of the Office of the High Commissioner
          for Human Rights information which he had received, according to which some
          300 soldiers of the Alliance des Forces D&mocratiques pour la Lib&ration du
          Congo-Zaire (AFDL) were deployed in Shabunda, South-Kivu, Democratic Republic
          of the Congo, to protect and ensure the repatriation of refugees to Rwanda.
          Fears had been expressed for the life and physical integrity of those
          refugees, who had been fleeing attacks by the AFDL since October 1996. The
          Special Rapporteur also informed Mr. Zacklin that he and the Special
          Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the
          Congo, had transmitted a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for
          Refugees requesting her to take the necessary preventive measures to protect
          the life of these refugees. By letter dated 28 July 1997, Mr. Zacklin
          informed the Special Rapporteur that he would undertake all the necessary
          efforts in his contacts with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the
          Congo to transmit the Special Rapporteurs' concern.
          108. IJNHCR replied to the Special Rapporteurs' letter, confirming that the
          arrival of the soldiers had caused fear amongst the refugees in the Shabunda
          transit centre and in Katshungu and had prompted half of the residents of the
          transit centre to return to the forest in the days following the deployment.
          However, since the arrival of the soldiers, UNHCR, which maintained a presence
          in Shabunda, had not received reports of any harassment of the refugees by the
          soldiers. IJNHCR informed the Special Rapporteurs that they would maintain a
          policy of continued vigilance in the Shabunda region and follow the
          developments.
          109. The Special Rapporteur considers that coordination with the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights should be strengthened with regard to field
        
          
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          visits. He believes that special rapporteurs should be consulted before field
          offices of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are set up in countries of
          common concern. Such field offices, which are aimed at strengthening human
          rights mechanisms, should therefore include in their mandates the servicing of
          special rapporteurs. The Special Rapporteur also thinks that guidelines
          should be developed for the cooperation between mechanisms of the Commission
          on Human Rights and field offices, as well as for follow-up by the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights on special rapporteurs' recommendations.
          VI. CONCLUDING REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
          110. As in previous years, the Special Rapporteur is compelled to conclude
          that there is no indication that extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
          executions have decreased. During the past year, the Special Rapporteur
          transmitted more than 960 alleged cases of violations of the right to life as
          well as 122 urgent appeals on behalf of 3,720 persons, in addition to
          allegations concerning groups of persons for which no number of individuals
          was known.
          111. One of the most prevalent targets of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
          executions has continued to be persons involved in struggles such as those to
          prevent or combat racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, and to ensure
          respect for economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, including
          rights to ancestral lands. In situations of internal armed conflict, up to
          90 per cent of the victims were reported to be civilians, many of them women
          and children. Furthermore, United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers,
          journalists, members of political parties and trade unions, participants in
          demonstrations, displaced persons and persons belonging to minorities have
          been deliberately killed.
          112. The Special Rapporteur is committed to correctly portray the situation
          of the right to life in all its manifestations falling within his mandate.
          The Special Rapporteur recognizes that over the years a growing awareness of
          his mandate has led to an increase in the information, albeit regionally
          unbalanced, brought to his attention. In particular, he regrets that very
          little information has been brought to his attention regarding the situation
          in many countries in Africa. At the same time, for some countries, and in
          particular Colombia, the amount of information regarding alleged violations of
          the right to life is so overwhelming that he thinks it is no longer possible
          to handle it in a meaningful manner through the transmission of individual
          cases and their follow-up.
          113. The Special Rapporteur is constrained to conclude that, with the
          resources at his disposal, the effectiveness of his mandate is hampered and
          that his methods of work need to be adapted to bring them into line with
          scarce resources. The Special Rapporteur already decided to consider during
          the past reporting year only those alleged cases of extrajudicial, summary or
          arbitrary executions which occurred in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The failure of
          many Governments to provide him with a reply by responding to the questions
          posed in the letters accompanying the allegations further complicated the
          Special Rapporteur's task. In addition, and despite the fact that the Special
          Rapporteur sent some follow-up communications during the past year, he
          recognizes that in the absence of a database system and with thousands of
        
          
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          cases having accumulated over the past years, it has become impossible to
          consistently follow up alleged cases of violations of the right to life.
          114. The Special Rapporteur notes with regret that some Governments have
          failed to cooperate with him. While some Governments have not responded to
          any of his communications over the past year or have provided replies without
          responding to the questions posed in his letters, others have refused to
          respond to further questions posed in follow-up communications. His dialogue
          with the Governments of Turkey, China and India over the past years have not
          resulted, as hoped, in invitations to visit their countries. Moreover,
          recommendations contained in reports on field visits have failed to become the
          starting point for a constant exchange of views with the Governments on how to
          improve further the respect for the right to life.
          115. The Special Rapporteur is convinced that extrajudicial, summary or
          arbitrary executions can be prevented only if there is a genuine will on the
          part of Governments and the international community not only to enforce the
          safeguards and guarantees for the protection of the right to life of every
          person under its jurisdiction, but also to strengthen them further. The
          Special Rapporteur notes with regret that trends in an opposite direction seem
          to be emerging. Declarations of commitment to protection of the right to life
          are only effective if they are translated into practice. If the aim is the
          protection of the right to life, the emphasis must be on the prevention of
          violations of this supreme right and the rejection of impunity.
          Recommendations
          116. The international community should concentrate its efforts on the
          effective prevention of further human rights crises, including genocide, the
          methods of work of the Special Rapporteur, and on the implementation of
          existing standards for the respect for the right to life. Human rights issues
          cannot be considered as internal affairs, and the international community has
          a duty to remind States that do not respect international human rights
          standards of their obligations under international law. The international
          community should assist in the establishment of a coherent multifaceted system
          of prevention of conflicts that would embody a rapid intervention component to
          prevent the degeneration of situations where the threat of massive human
          rights violations exists. Such a system would not only involve the
          participation of United Nations organs and bodies but would also require the
          concerted efforts and full cooperation of all Governments as well as
          non-governmental organizations.
          1. Capital punishment
          117. States that have not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and
          Political Rights and, in particular, its Second Optional Protocol, are
          encouraged to do so. All States should bring domestic legislation in
          conformity with international standards. States that enforce their capital
          punishment legislation should observe all fair trial standards contained in
          the relevant international legal instruments, in particular in the
          International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition,
          Governments that continue to enforce such legislation with respect to minors
          and the mentally ill are particularly called upon to bring their domestic
        
          
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          legislation into conformity with international legal standards. States should
          consider the adoption of special laws to protect the mentally retarded,
          incorporating existing international standards.
          118. States should provide in their national legislation a period of at least
          six months so as to allow a reasonable amount of time for the preparation of
          appeals to courts of higher jurisdiction and petition for clemency before a
          death sentence is executed. Such a measure would prevent hasty executions
          while affording defendants the opportunity to exercise all their rights.
          Officials responsible for carrying out an execution order should be fully
          informed of the state of appeals and petitions for clemency of the prisoner in
          question, and should not proceed to an execution if an appeal or other
          recourse procedure is still pending. Appeals for clemency should provide
          effective opportunities to safeguard lives.
          119. Governments of countries in which the death penalty is still enforced
          are urged to deploy every effort that could lead to the restriction of its use
          with the aim of its abolition, the desirability of which has been affirmed by
          the General Assembly repeatedly as well as by the Commission on Human Rights
          in its resolution 1997/12. In accordance with the latter, Governments should
          consider the imposition of a moratorium on executions.
          2. Death threats
          120. State authorities should conduct investigations with respect to all
          instances of death threats or attempts against lives that are brought to their
          attention, regardless of whether a judicial or other procedure has been
          activated by the potential victim. Governments should adopt effective
          measures to ensure full protection of those who are at risk of extrajudicial,
          summary or arbitrary execution.
          121. In circumstances where certain State authorities or sectors of the civil
          society perceive political dissent, social protest or the defence of human
          rights as a threat to their authority, the central government authorities
          should take action to create a climate more favourable to the exercise of
          those rights and thus reduce the risk of violations of the right to life. The
          Special Rapporteur encourages Governments to recognize publicly the legitimacy
          of and contribution made by human rights defenders.
          3. Deaths in custody
          122. All Governments should ensure that conditions of detention in their
          countries conform to the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
          and other pertinent international instruments. Governments should also deploy
          efforts to ensure full respect for international norms and principles
          prohibiting any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
          123. Prison guards and other law enforcement personnel should receive
          training on the observance of the aforementioned norms in performing their
          duties. State agents should take into consideration the right to life of
          prisoners, especially in the course of controlling prison disturbances and
          preventing prison escapes. All deaths in custody should be investigated by a
        
          
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          body that is independent from the police or prison authorities. Governments
          could consider measures such as the obligatory videotaping of post mortem
          examinations or the taking of pictures of corpses.
          124. Because of the magnitude of the problem, the Special Rapporteur requests
          the Commission on Human Rights to consider appointing a Special Rapporteur on
          conditions of detention and prison conditions, following the example set by
          the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, which has recently
          nominated such a rapporteur. In addition, he requests the Commission on Human
          Rights to call for the rapid adoption of an optional protocol to the
          Convention against Torture with a view to establishing a system of periodic
          visits to places of detention.
          4. Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
          125. All Governments should ensure that their security personnel receive
          thorough training in human rights issues, particularly with regard to
          restrictions on the use of force and firearms in the discharge of their
          duties. Such training should include, for instance, the teaching of methods
          of crowd control without resorting to lethal force. Every effort should be
          made by States to combat impunity in this field and to provide adequate
          compensation to victims' families.
          5. Violations of the right to life during armed conflict
          126. All States that have not yet done so are encouraged to ratify the four
          Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional protocols. The training
          of members of the armed forces and other security forces should include
          substantive instruction on the content of these instruments in addition to
          those dealing with human rights.
          127. Governments of countries in which terrorist groups are active should
          ensure that counter-insurgency operations are conducted in conformity with
          human rights standards so as to minimize the loss of lives.
          6. Imminent expulsion of persons to countries where
          their lives are in danger
          128. Governments that have not yet ratified the Convention and the Protocol
          Relating to the Status of Refugees are called upon to do so. All Governments
          should at all times refrain from expelling a person in circumstances where
          respect for his or her right to life is not fully guaranteed. Refoulement of
          refugees or of internally displaced persons to countries or areas where
          respect for their right to life is not fully guaranteed, as well as the
          closure of borders preventing the escape of persons trying to flee a country,
          should at all times be prohibited. Whenever a country is faced with a massive
          influx of refugees the international community should provide necessary
          assistance.
          7. Genocide
          129. All Governments are encouraged to ratify the Convention on the
          Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Special Rapporteur
        
          
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          calls on States to pay due attention to the stipulations in the Convention
          concerning the prevention of genocide. Concerned States, assisted by the
          international community, should take all necessary measures to prevent acts
          of communal violence from degenerating into large-scale killings that may
          reach the dimension of genocide. States in which acts of communal violence
          occur should do their utmost to curb such conflicts at an early stage, and to
          work towards reconciliation and peaceful coexistence of all segments of the
          population, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, language or any other
          distinction. Governments should at all times refrain from any propaganda or
          incitement to hatred and intolerance that might foment acts of communal
          violence or condone such acts and bring to justice perpetrators of such acts.
          130. The Special Rapporteur pursuant to article VIII of the Convention on the
          Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, encourages the State
          parties to the Convention to call upon the competent organs of the
          United Nations to take action in order to prevent and suppress acts of
          genocide.
          131. The Special Rapporteur believes that a monitoring mechanism to supervise
          the implementation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
          Crime of Genocide should be established.
          132. The Special Rapporteur urges the international community and all
          concerned States to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal
          for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Tribunal for Rwanda,
          particularly by arresting and handing over suspects, so as to bring to justice
          as soon as possible those accused of the crime of genocide.
          8. Acts of omission
          133. Governments should adopt the necessary preventive and protective
          measures to ensure full enjoyment of the right to life to persons under their
          jurisdiction. Such measures could include requests for international
          assistance if Governments feel themselves unable to fulfil this obligation.
          134. Governments should fight impunity for common crimes and bring to justice
          persons committing murder in the name of so-called popular justice.
          Governments should at no time allow acts of incitement to revenge that might
          lead to killings.
          9. Impunity
          135. All States should conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into
          allegations of violations of the right to life, in all its manifestations, and
          identify those responsible. They should also prosecute the alleged
          perpetrators of such acts, while taking effective measures to avoid the
          recurrence of such violations. In accordance with principle 19 of the
          Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal,
          Arbitrary and Summary Executions, blanket amnesty laws prohibiting the
          prosecution of alleged perpetrators and violating the rights of victims should
          not be endorsed.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/1998/68
          page 33
          136. The Special Rapporteur believes that the following measures could be
          taken to combat the problem of impunity: (a) establishment of a permanent
          international criminal court, with universal jurisdiction over mass violations
          of human rights and humanitarian law; such an international criminal court
          would have to be bestowed with an adequate mandate and sufficient means to
          enable it to conduct thorough investigations and enforce the implementation of
          its decisions; and (b) adoption of a convention, similar to the Convention
          against Torture, which would provide domestic courts with international
          jurisdiction over persons suspected of having committed mass violations of the
          right to life; such a convention should also contain provisions for the
          allocation of compensation to victims' families.
          137. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the developments and discussions on the
          draft code on crimes against the peace and security of mankind and the draft
          statute on the establishment of an international criminal court and reiterates
          his call to the General Assembly to adopt them as soon as possible.
          10. Rights of victims
          138. All States should include in their national legislation provisions that
          allow for adequate compensation and facilitate access to judicial remedies to
          families of the victims of violations of the right to life in accordance with
          the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal,
          Arbitrary and Summary Executions, recommended by Economic and Social Council
          resolution 1989/65 of 24 May 1989. States should endorse the principles set
          out in the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and
          Abuse of Power, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 40/34 of
          29 November 1985, and incorporate them in their national legislation.
          Compassion, respect and justice being the rationales for victims' rights,
          victims have no right to retaliation, nor should the duty of the State to
          provide justice be privatized.
          Notes
          1.See the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-
          legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, recommended by the Economic and
          Social Council in resolution 1989/65, as well as the Basic Principles on the
          Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Also, the Human
          Rights Committee has stated, both in its General Comments on article 6 of the
          International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in a number of
          decisions, that States parties are required to investigate all human rights
          violations, particularly those affecting the physical integrity of the victim;
          to bring to justice those responsible; to pay adequate compensation to the
          victims or their families; and to prevent the recurrence of such violations.
          2.See paragraph 19 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and
          Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, which states,
          in part, that In no circumstances ... shall blanket immunity from prosecution
          be granted to any person allegedly involved in extra-legal, summary or
          arbitrary executions” .
        
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Political Freedom, Executions