Kanana Tshiongo a Minanga v. Zaire

Communication No. 366/1989
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Kanana Tshiongo A Minanga (K), a founder of a political party opposed to the governing regime of President Mobutu, complained that he was taken by members of the Zairian defense forces to the headquarters of the political police supposedly to meet the director and then held overnight without any reason being given. While there, he claimed that he was strapped to a cell floor, subjected to electric shocks applied to his genitals, beaten with metal bars wrapped with barbed wire, and left for dead by a road. He also alleged that there has been no follow-up to a complaint filed with the Supreme Court of Zaire.

K brought a complaint for violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (“ICCPR”).

[Adapted from INTERIGHTS Summary, with permission]

The Committee held that the failure to inform K of the reasons for his apprehension and detention and the use of false pretexts was arbitrary and a violation of Article 9(1) of the ICCPR.

The Committee further held that K was subjected to torture and cruel and inhuman treatment and not treated with respect for his inherent dignity, in violation of Articles 7 and 10(1).

[Adapted from INTERIGHTS Summary, with permission]

"As to the treatment to which the author was subjected between 8 p.m. on 1 May 1989 and the early morning hours of 2 May 1989, it has remained uncontested that Mr. Kanana remained strapped to the concrete floor of his cell for close to four hours, and that he was thereafter subjected to acts of torture for several more hours. The Committee observes in this context that Mr. Kanana has provided photographic evidence of the consequences of this treatment. In the circumstances, the Committee concludes that the author has substantiated his claim that he was subjected to torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, in violation of article 7 of the Covenant, and that he was not treated with respect for the inherent dignity of his person, in violation of article 10, paragraph 1." Para. 5.3.

INTERIGHTS Comment: Although Zaire did not cooperate with the examination of the communication, K's uncontested claims were sufficiently substantiated to satisfy the Committee. Photographic evidence of the consequences of his treatment while in detention were particularly helpful in this respect. The Committee also expressed grave concern about the manner of K's detention and the apparent lack of judicial accountability of the defence forces.