Report on Article 5 of the African Charter’s Jurisprudence by Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa

Date entry into force
Date of Adoption

I. Acknowledgments.

This report was developed by the CPTA with the technical support of the Center for Reproductive rights with research support provided by a pro bono team at Dentons.

We are very thankful to all individuals and organizations that reviewed earlier drafts of the report.

Your commitment has been a driving force behind the success of this endeavour.

II. Summary

1. This report reviews how Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which prohibits torture cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, has been interpreted and applied by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Its main objectives are to assess whether the African Commission has applied a broad or narrow interpretation to what acts constitute a violation of Article 5 and to determine whether there are any trends in its interpretation which may be hindering or enhancing its application. The report further provides a comparative analysis of the jurisprudence of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice. This comparative analysis identifies and assesses the differences in interpretation and application of the prohibition of torture in Africa among these human rights bodies. The report discusses some national jurisprudence where violations of Article 5 have been claimed as examples of the implication of the regional and sub-regional level decisions at the national level. It concludes with some recommendations including the need to clarify the meaning of ‘prima facie’ evidence given its different application by the aforementioned mechanisms, undertake potential outreach to expand the range of cases and jurisprudence on Article 5 violations, and account for the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa by addressing Article 5 violations that occur in the context of women’s access to reproductive healthcare services.

Ratification Table:
Member StateDate DepositedDate RatificationDate Signature