M’Boissona (on behalf of Bozize) v. Central African Republic

Communication 428/1990, UN Doc. CCPR/C/50/D/428/1990
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In a communication submitted to the United Nations Humans Right Committee (“UNHRC”), Yvonne M’Boissona asserted that her brother, François Bozize, led a coup d’état in the Central African Republic in 1982. After fleeing the country, he was arrested in July 1989 in Benin, repatriated to the Central African Republic by force, and imprisoned at a military camp at Roux, Bangui.

The petitioner alleged that her brother was kept in unsanitary conditions at the camp, fed rotten food to the point of becoming severely malnourished, and denied a doctor for basic medical care. Boizize’s lawyer confirmed that Bozize was beaten and seriously injured.

Initially, Boizize was denied access to a lawyer. Four years after his arrest he had not had a trial or any decision by a court on the lawfulness of his arrest and detention.

Reminders to provide information on the substance of M’Boissona’s allegations were sent to the Central African Republic by the UNHRC in June 1993 and February 1994, but the State did not respond..

The UNHRC held that, given the Central African Republic’s failure to respond to the two reminders to provide information on the substance of M’Boissona’s allegations, article 5(2)(b) of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR”) (requiring the exhaustion of domestic remedies) did not prevent the UNHRC from considering M’Boissona’s allegations.

The UNHRC found sufficient evidence to conclude that the conditions of Boizize’s arrest and imprisonment violated articles 7 (guaranteeing freedom from torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment), 9 (guaranteeing the right to liberty and security of person), 10 (guaranteeing the right to respect for inherent dignity of the person), and 14(3)(c) (guaranteeing the right to be tried without undue delay) of the ICCPR. However, the UNHRC found, that a claim under article 19 (guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression) remained unsubstantiated.

The UNHRC held that article 2(3)(a) of the ICCPR entitled Mr. Bozize to an effective remedy, including his release and appropriate compensation for the treatment suffered. The Committee held that the Central African Republic should investigate the complaints and bring those responsible to justice. The Committee also held that the Central African Republic must take effective measures to ensure that similar violations do not occur in the future.

“The Committee decides to base its views on the following facts, which have not been contested by the state party. Mr. François Bozize was arrested on 24 July 1989 and was taken to the military camp at Roux, Bangui, on 31 August 1989. There he was subjected to maltreatment and was held incommunicado until 26 October 1990, when his lawyer was able to visit him. During the night of 10 to 11 July 1990, he was beaten and sustained serious injuries, which was confirmed by his lawyer. Moreover, while detained in the camp at Roux, he was held under conditions which did not respect the inherent dignity of the human person. After his arrest, Mr Bozize was not brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power, was denied access to counsel and was not, in due time, afforded the opportunity to obtain a decision by a court on the lawfulness of his arrest and detention. The Committee finds that the above amount to violations by the state party of articles 7, 9, and 10 in the case.” Paragraph 5.2.

“The Committee notes that although Mr. Bozize has not yet been tried, his right to a fair trial has been violated; in particular, his right to be tried within a reasonable time' under article 14(3)(c), has not been respected, as he does not appear to have been tried at first instance after over four years of detention.” Paragraph 5.3.