United Nations

A/51/457


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

7 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/457
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (b)


            HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS, INCLUDING
            ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVE
              ENJOYMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

                Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

                         Note by the Secretary-General


     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly the interim report on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions prepared by Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Special
Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, in accordance with
paragraph 19 of Commission resolution 1996/74 of 23 April 1996 and
Economic and Social Council decision 1996/279 of 24 July 1996.


                                     ANNEX

          Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human
           Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions


                                   CONTENTS

                                                            Paragraphs  Page

  I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................   1 - 9      5

      A. Structure of the report ..........................      4        5

      B. History of the mandate ...........................    5 - 9      5

 II.  THE MANDATE ..........................................  10 - 20     6   


      A. Terms of reference ...............................   10 - 12     6

      B. Violations of the right to life:  action taken by
         the Special Rapporteur ...........................      13       7

      C. Legal framework ..................................   14 - 20     8

III.  METHODS OF WORK AND ACTIVITIES SINCE 1992 ............  21 - 47    10

      A. Communications ...................................   21 - 23    10

      B. Urgent appeals ...................................   24 - 30    10

      C. Other allegations ................................   31 - 34    12

      D. Government replies and follow-up communications ..   35 - 38    13

      E. Visits ...........................................   39 - 44    15

      F. Other activities .................................   45 - 47    16

 IV.  SITUATIONS INVOLVING VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE .  48 - 78    16

      A. Capital punishment ...............................   48 - 51    16

      B. Death threats ....................................   52 - 53    17

      C. Deaths in custody ................................   54 - 56    17

      D. Deaths as a result of excessive use of force by
         law enforcement officials ........................   57 - 58    18

      E. Deaths as a result of attacks by civil defence
         forces and paramilitary groups ...................   59 - 61    18

      F. Violations of the right to life during armed
         conflicts ........................................   62 - 67    19

      G. Genocide .........................................   68 - 73    20

      H. Imminent expulsion of persons to a country where
         their lives are in danger ........................      74      21

      I. Impunity .........................................      75      22

      J. Rights of victims ................................   76 - 78    22

  V.  ISSUES REQUIRING THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR'S ATTENTION ..  79 - 103   22

      A. Violations of the right to life of women .........   79 - 82    22

      B. Violations of the right to life of minors ........   83 - 85    23

      C. The right to life and mass exoduses ..............   86 - 92    24

      D. Violations of the right to life of persons
         exercising their right to freedom of opinion and
         expression .......................................   93 - 94    25

      E. The right to life and the administration of
         justice ..........................................   95 - 96    26

      F. Violations of the right to life of persons
         belonging to national, ethnic, religious or 
         linguistic minorities ............................      97      26

      G. Violations of the right to life and terrorism ....   98 - 100   27

      H. Violations of the right to life of staff members
         of the United Nations and of the specialized
         agencies .........................................  101 - 103   27

 VI.  ISSUES OF SPECIAL CONCERN TO THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR .. 104 - 133   28

      A. Capital punishment ...............................  104 - 117   28

         1.   Desirability of abolition of the death penalty 105 - 109   28

         2.   Fair trial ................................... 110 - 114   29

         3.   Observance of special restrictions on the
              application of the death penalty ............. 115 - 117   30

      B. Impunity ........................................   118 - 127   31

      C. Cooperation with the United Nations High 
         Commissioner for Human Rights and other United
         Nations bodies ..................................   128 - 133   33

VII.  CONCLUDING REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..............  134 - 161   34

Appendix.  QUESTIONS TO WHICH GOVERNMENTS ARE REQUESTED TO REPLY IN
           REGARD TO ALLEGED CASES OF EXTRAJUDICIAL, SUMMARY OR
           ARBITRARY EXECUTIONS .........................................42


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The present report is the first report to be submitted to the General
Assembly since the mandate on summary and arbitrary executions was established
by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1982/35 of 7 May 1982.  
The report is presented by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, who
has thus far presented four annual reports to the Commission on Human Rights. 

2.   The present report is submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/74 of 23 April 1996 on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions.  In that resolution, the Commission invited the Special Rapporteur
to submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session
on the situation worldwide in regard to summary or arbitrary executions and
his recommendations for more effective action to combat that phenomenon.

3.   The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, Mr. Ndiaye, took over the mandate when the previous Special
Rapporteur, Mr. S. Amos Wako, resigned.  Mr. Wako had been Special Rapporteur
from the establishment of the mandate in 1982 until March 1992.  Mr. Ndiaye
was appointed in April 1992 by the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights,
pursuant to Commission resolution 1992/72 of 5 March 1992, which was approved
by the Economic and Social Council in its decision 1992/242 of 20 July 1992. 


                          A.  Structure of the report

4.   The report covers the period from 20 July 1992 through 1 September 1996,
the time during which the present Special Rapporteur has been in office.  The
period from 1982 to 1992, is summarized in paragraphs 5 to 9 below.  In
chapter II, the Special Rapporteur offers an interpretation of the mandate
entrusted to him and the legal framework within which it has been implemented.
Chapter III covers the methods of work and activities undertaken since 1992. 
In chapter IV, the various situations involving violations of the right to
life are discussed.  In chapter V, the Special Rapporteur presents an account
of issues requiring his special attention.  Issues of special concern are
reported on in chapter VI.  Finally, chapter VII contains the Special
Rapporteur's concluding remarks and recommendations designed to ensure a more
effective respect for the right to life.


                          B.  History of the mandate

5.   The subject of summary or arbitrary executions had been discussed in the
United Nations for many years within the framework of a wider discussion on
human rights.  The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities had for a long time reported on this subject under
the item entitled "Disappearances and summary executions".  Over the years,
the Subcommission's reports revealed increasing instances of alleged summary
executions.  The Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 20 (XXXVI), of
29 February 1980, established the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary
Disappearances.  The creation of that Group, in addition to other
developments, led to the establishment of the mandate on summary and arbitrary
executions. 

6.   The Commission on Human Rights, by its resolution 1982/29 of
11 March 1982, recommended that the Economic and Social Council request the
Chairman of the Commission to appoint an individual of recognized
international standing as special rapporteur to submit a comprehensive report
to the Commission at its thirty-ninth session on the occurrence and extent of
the practice of summary or arbitrary executions, together with his conclusions
and recommendations.  This resolution was subsequently adopted by the Economic
and Social Council as resolution 1982/35 and established the mandate of the
Special Rapporteur.

7.   The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been regularly renewed by the
Economic and Social Council.  The Special Rapporteur has examined the issue
from various aspects with a view to presenting a comprehensive picture of the
phenomenon of summary or arbitrary executions in the contemporary world.

8.   The Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1992/72, renewed the
mandate of the Special Rapporteur and extended it for another three years. 
This resolution was approved by the Economic and Social Council in its
decision 1992/242.  It should be noted that in its resolution, the Commission
widened the title of the mandate to include "extrajudicial" as well as
"summary or arbitrary" executions.  This change indicates that the members of
the Commission have adopted a broader approach to the mandate on executions to
include all violations of the right to life as guaranteed by a large number of
international human rights instruments.

9.   After having presented his ninth report 1/ to the Commission on Human
Rights, Mr. Wako resigned as Special Rapporteur in early March 1992 and
Mr. Ndiaye took over the mandate on 20 July 1992.


                               II.  THE MANDATE

                            A.  Terms of reference

10.  As it had in previous years, the Commission on Human Rights, in its
resolution 1996/74, requested the Special Rapporteur, in carrying out his
mandate:

     (a) To continue to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions and to submit on an annual basis his findings, together
with conclusions and recommendations, to the Commission on Human Rights, as
well as such other reports as the Special Rapporteur deems necessary in order
to keep the Commission informed about such serious situations of
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that warrant its immediate
attention;

     (b) To respond effectively to information that comes before him, in
particular when an extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution is imminent
or threatened or when such an execution has occurred;

     (c) To enhance further his dialogue with Governments, as well as to
follow up on recommendations made in reports after visits to particular
countries;

     (d) To continue to pay special attention to extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions of children and women and to allegations concerning
violations of the right to life in the context of violence against
participants in demonstrations and other peaceful public manifestations or
against persons belonging to minorities;

     (e) To pay special attention to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions where the victims are individuals who are carrying out peaceful
activities in defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

     (f) 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;

     (g) To apply a gender perspective in his work.

11.  In other resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its
fifty-second session, special rapporteurs were requested to pay particular
attention to certain issues within the framework of their mandates.  Those
resolutions include the following:  1996/20 on the rights of persons belonging
to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; 1996/32 on human
rights in the administration of justice, in particular of children and
juveniles in detention; 1996/47 on human rights and terrorism; 1996/48 on the
question of integrating the human rights of women throughout the United
Nations system; 1996/49 on the elimination of violence against women; 1996/51
on human rights and mass exoduses; 1996/52 on internally displaced persons;
1996/53 on the right to freedom of opinion and expression; 1996/55 on advisory
services, technical cooperation and the Voluntary Fund for Technical
Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights; 1996/70 on cooperation with
representatives of United Nations human rights bodies; 1996/78 on the
comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action; 1996/85 on the rights of the child.

12.  In implementing his mandate, the Special Rapporteur takes into account
the requests made by the Commission on Human Rights in the above-mentioned
resolutions, particularly when evaluating and analysing information he
receives.


           B.  Violations of the right to life:  action taken by the 
               Special Rapporteur
     
13.  Since the creation of the mandate in 1982, action has been taken in a
variety of situations by the Special Rapporteurs in charge of the mandate. 
During the period under consideration, the Special Rapporteur has taken and
continues to take action in the following cases:

     (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 case of a breach of the right to appeal or the
right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.  He also intervenes if the
convicted is a minor, a mentally retarded or insane person, 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 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;

     (d) Deaths owing 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 owing to attacks by security forces of the State, by
paramilitary groups, death squads or other private forces cooperating with or
tolerated by the Government;

     (f) Violations of the right to life during armed conflicts, especially
of the civilian population, contrary to humanitarian law;

     (g) Expulsion or refoulement of persons to a country where their lives
are in danger;

     (h) Genocide;

     (i) Breach of the obligation to investigate alleged violations of the
right to life and to bring those responsible to justice;

     (j) Breach of the obligation to provide adequate compensation to victims
of violations of the right to life.


                              C.  Legal framework

14.  The Special Rapporteur is guided primarily by international legal
standards.  The main substantive legal framework, as indicated by the
Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1992/72, and the General
Assembly, in its resolution 45/162 of 18 December 1990, comprises the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 6, 14 and 15 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  These standards, which
are universal, are interpreted within the context of other United Nations
instruments, enumerated in the sixth preambular paragraph of Commission
resolution 1992/72. 

15.  The right to life finds its most general recognition in article 3 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Article 6 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes the inherent right of every
person to life, adding that this right "shall be protected by law" and that
"no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of life".  The right to life of persons
under the age of 18 and the obligation of States to guarantee the enjoyment of
this right to the maximum extent possible are both specifically recognized in
article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

16.  In accordance with article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, and pursuant to several other United Nations declarations
and conventions, everyone is entitled to the protection of the right to life
without distinction or discrimination of any kind, and all persons shall be
guaranteed equal and effective access to remedies for the violation of this
right.

17.  Moreover, article 4, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights provides that exceptional circumstances such as internal
political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to
justify any derogation from the right to life and security of the person.
     
18.  The general recognition of the right to life of every person in the
aforementioned international instruments constitutes the legal basis for the
work of the Special Rapporteur.  Various other treaties, resolutions,
conventions and declarations adopted by competent United Nations bodies
contain provisions relating to specific types of violations of the right to
life.  They, too, form part of the legal framework within which the Special
Rapporteur operates. 2/ 

19.  One of the most pertinent of these instruments is the Principles on the
Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary
Executions, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution
1989/65 of 24 May 1989.  Principle 4 sets forth the obligation of Governments
to guarantee effective protection through judicial or other means to
individuals and groups who are in danger of extra-legal, arbitrary or summary
executions, including those who receive death threats.

20.  The situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that
the Special Rapporteur is requested to investigate comprise a variety of
cases.  All acts and omissions of state representatives that constitute a
violation of the general recognition of the right to life embodied in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 3) and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 6 and, also, articles 2, 4,
para. 2, 26 and, in particular with regard to the death penalty, articles 14
and 15), as well as a number of other treaties, resolutions, conventions and
declarations adopted by competent United Nations bodies, fall within his
mandate.


                III.  METHODS OF WORK AND ACTIVITIES SINCE 1992

                              A.  Communications

21.  The Special Rapporteur discharges his mandate mainly on the basis of
information brought to his attention by non-governmental organizations,
Governments, individuals and intergovernmental organizations.  These
communications contain specific cases of alleged extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions, or death threats, and/or general information about
questions related to the right to life.

22.  While many of the organizations and individuals providing allegations
are well known to the Special Rapporteur and other United Nations human rights
officials as sources of credible information, sometimes allegations are
received from less well-known or entirely new sources.  The main criteria
applied by the Special Rapporteur in his evaluation of such allegations are
the degree of detail they contain concerning the victims and the precise
circumstances of the given incident.  Where doubt persists, the Special
Rapporteur will continue to seek corroboration of these allegations from other
sources of undisputed credibility.  The way in which the sources of
allegations respond to the Special Rapporteur's requests for comments on the
contents of government replies and/or for additional details to clarify the
cases they submitted will provide the Special Rapporteur with a basis for
assessing the reliability of the sources.  Where there are no serious grounds
to believe that the information provided by the source is not credible, the
Special Rapporteur transmits the allegations to the Governments concerned,
either in the form of an urgent appeal or a letter.

23.  The limited staff available to the Special Rapporteur does not allow him
to take an active approach and to seek contact with possible local or national
sources of information in cases where, for example, violations of the right to
life are reported by the media but allegations have not been submitted to the
Special Rapporteur.  The availability of information on any country clearly
depends on the degree of freedom granted by Governments to human rights
activists, as well as on the latter's level of organization.  As a
consequence, the Special Rapporteur continues to find himself in a situation
where, for some countries, the information brought to his attention is very
complete, while other countries simply do not figure in his report because no
information has been received, or the communications brought to his attention
are not sufficiently specific to allow them to be processed within the
framework of his mandate.  Therefore, allegations transmitted by the Special
Rapporteur are only approximately indicative of the occurrence of violations
of the right to life worldwide.


                              B.  Urgent appeals

24.  Urgent transmissions were made by the Special Rapporteur in cases that
evinced a fear of imminent extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions;
these cases included death threats and fear of imminent execution of death
sentences in contravention of the limitations on capital punishment set forth
in the pertinent international instruments.  This fear is sometimes based on
alleged violations of the right to life that have already been committed.  The
Special Rapporteur also sent urgent appeals to Governments after having been
informed of the imminent expulsion of persons to a country where they are at
risk of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution.

25.  The aim of urgent appeals is the prevention of loss of life. 
Consequently, the Special Rapporteur transmits allegations of imminent
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions regardless of whether domestic
remedies have been exhausted. 

26.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur transmitted 818
urgent appeals on behalf of more than 6,500 persons, as well as on behalf of
members of certain families, various indigenous communities, groups of
refugees, internally displaced persons and the civilian population in various
conflict areas.

27.  Urgent appeals were transmitted to the following 91 countries: 
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African
Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia,
Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia,
Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya,
Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico,
Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama,
Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation,
Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,
United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Venezuela,
Viet Nam, Yemen and Zaire.  In addition, an urgent appeal was transmitted to
the Palestinian Authority.


                                  Table 1

               Urgent appeals transmitted to Governments since 1992
         
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Year                 Number of urgent appeals      Number of Governments
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1992                           143                          43
1993                           217                          52
1994                           151                          53
1995                           203                          41
1996 a/                        104                          34
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     a/   Up to 1 September 1996.


28.  The Special Rapporteur transmitted urgent appeals on behalf of more than
100 identified individuals to the Governments of Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala,
Peru and South Africa, and on behalf of more than 50 identified individuals to
Egypt, El Salvador, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Togo and
the United States of America.

29.  The Special Rapporteur appealed to the Governments concerned to ensure
effective protection of those under threat or at risk of execution.  He also
urged the competent authorities to undertake full, independent and impartial
investigations with respect to those violations and to adopt all necessary
measures to prevent further violations of the right to life.  The Special
Rapporteur requested that he be informed of every step taken in this regard.

30.  In addition, since 1995, joint urgent appeals have been sent to
Governments when the relevant issues concerned the mandate of more than one
special rapporteur or working group.  During 1995 and 1996, 3/ the Special
Rapporteur participated in, respectively, 14 and 11 joint urgent appeals.


                             C.  Other allegations

31.  Alleged cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions were
transmitted to concerned Governments in the form of case summaries.  They were
accompanied by letters requesting Governments to provide the Special
Rapporteur with information concerning the progress and results of
investigations conducted with respect to these cases, penal or disciplinary
sanctions imposed on the perpetrators, compensation provided to the family of
the victim, as well as with any other pertinent comments or observations. 4/ 
In these letters, the Special Rapporteur also urged Governments to take steps
that might be necessary in order to investigate, prosecute, impose appropriate
sanctions and provide compensation in accordance with international standards,
as well as to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such acts.

32.  The Special Rapporteur sent alleged cases of extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions to the Governments of the following 89 countries: 
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan,
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile,
China, Colombia, Comoros, Co^te d'Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti,
Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, France, Germany,
Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic
Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia,
Malawi, Mali, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone,
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand,
Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
Uruguay, United States of America, Venezuela, Yemen, Zaire and Zimbabwe.  The
Special Rapporteur also transmitted one case to the Palestinian Authority.

33.  The number of persons whose cases were transmitted is given in table 2. 
It should be noted, however, that, on the basis of experience gained,
statistical methods were rationalized several times during the years under
review.  As a result, a comparison of figures regarding number of cases among
the years may present a misleading picture.  While, at first, groups of
unidentified persons were included in the statistics, during the past two
years the Special Rapporteur excluded unidentified persons, unless they could
easily be identified.  This is due, in particular, to the fact that during
these years the Special Rapporteur acted increasingly on behalf of large
groups for which only an approximative number of individuals was known, such
as groups of refugees, internally displaced persons, members of a certain
family, inhabitants of a particular village or civilians of a specific town. 
During 1994, considerably fewer cases were processed owing to a severe
shortage  of staff assisting the Special Rapporteur in the discharge of his
mandate during that year.


                                  Table 2

            Number of cases sent by the Special Rapporteur since 1992
         
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Year                    Number of cases         Number of Governments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1992                        1 900                        40
1993                        2 300                        51
1994                          700                        45
1995                          820                        71
1996 a/                     1 190                        46
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

     a/   Up to 1 September 1996.


34.  Other allegations of a more general nature were transmitted to concerned
Governments with requests to clarify the substance of these allegations and/or
to provide the Special Rapporteur with more specific information, such as
legal texts and other relevant documents.  These general allegations include,
for example, reports about persistent impunity or legislation alleged to be in
contravention of restrictions on the application of capital punishment
contained in pertinent international instruments.


              D.  Government replies and follow-up communications

35.  As mentioned above, all communications sent by the Special Rapporteur to
Governments are accompanied by requests for specific information in response
to specific questions.  Despite the Commission's adoption of several
resolutions urging Governments to provide replies to the Special Rapporteur's
communications, many queries by the Special Rapporteur remained unanswered.

36.  The Commission on Human Rights first requested the Special Rapporteur to
follow up on allegations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in
1992.  The Special Rapporteur believes that follow-up efforts should focus on
how Governments comply with their obligation under international law to
conduct full, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions transmitted to them, with a
view to clarifying the circumstances, identifying and prosecuting those
responsible, granting compensation to the victims or their families and
preventing future violations.

37.  Pursuant to the request of the Commission, the Special Rapporteur sent
follow-up communications to numerous Governments with respect to transmitted
allegations for which no reply had been received or for which replies had been
received that could not be considered satisfactory.  The latter included those
of a general character, those indicating that investigations had not yet been
finalized and were closed for lack of evidence, or those in which Governments
argued that the allegations were factually incorrect or provided a different
explanation of the events leading to the death of the person in question. 
Table 3 shows on a yearly basis the number of Governments to which the Special
Rapporteur transmitted allegations, the number of Governments that replied,
and the number of follow-up communications sent. 


                                  Table 3

                  Government communications since 1992

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Number of
              Governments to                                Number of
               which urgent                              Governments to
              appeals and/or          Number of          which follow-up
                cases were         Governments that       communications
Year           transmitted         provided replies          were sent
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1992                 54                  26                      -
1993                 69                  38                      30
1994                 65                  33                      35
1995                 87                  41                      20
1996 a/              54                  37                      46
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     a/   Up to 1 September 1996.


38.  The Special Rapporteur also addressed letters to sources of allegations
informing them of the contents of government replies concerning the cases they
submitted.  In those letters, the Special Rapporteur requested that the
sources provide the Special Rapporteur with additional comments or
observations.  In cases where the reply from a source contradicted the
Government's response, the Special Rapporteur also sent a follow-up
communication to the Government, requesting that it provide him with
additional information.  In general, the Special Rapporteur requests answers
to specific questions to enable him to form a conclusion on the merits of the
allegations and the veracity of the information provided by Governments and
sources respectively.


                                  E.  Visits

39.  The Special Rapporteur considers on-site visits an essential component
of his mandate.  The aim of such visits is to obtain first-hand information on
the situation of the right to life in the countries visited, to report on his
findings and to propose, in a spirit of cooperation and assistance,
recommendations to improve situations identified as matters of concern. 

40.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur conducted visits
to the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Peru, Rwanda, Indonesia and East
Timor, Colombia, Burundi and Papua New Guinea.  The visit to Colombia was
undertaken with the Special Rapporteur on torture.  At the Commission's
request, he also accompanied the Special Rapporteurs on Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
A visit to Nigeria with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers is scheduled for 1996.  The Special Rapporteur has outstanding
invitations from the Governments of Algeria and Sri Lanka for visits.  The
Governments of Azerbaijan and Gabon extended invitations to the Special
Rapporteur, which he was unable to honour in the light of other priorities. 

41.  The selection of countries that he wishes to visit is made by the
Special Rapporteur primarily on the basis of the number and gravity of
allegations and reports he receives concerning violations of the right to life
occurring in the given country.  In addition, the absence of adequate
responses from the Government or recurrent contradictions between information
received from the source and the Government may trigger the Special
Rapporteur's interest in visiting a country.

42.  Repeated demands to extend an invitation for a visit were forwarded to
the Governments of Bangladesh, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Tajikistan,
Turkey and the United States of America.  Despite the fact that the Government
of Turkey, in principle, accepted a visit, further efforts by the Special
Rapporteur have not yet led to such a visit.  The Government of Bangladesh
declined the proposal of the Special Rapporteur.

43.  In conformity with requests made by the Commission on Human Rights in
its resolutions on the mandate, the Special Rapporteur intends to maintain
close contact with Governments of the countries visited to assist them, to the
maximum extent possible, with the implementation of recommendations he issued
following his missions.  Follow-up visits within a reasonable period of time
are also envisaged.  The Special Rapporteur received an invitation for such a
visit from the Government of Colombia.

44.  The Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate that an on-site visit does
not entail the condemnation of a country.  Instead, it is envisaged as an
expression of concern and aims at improving his understanding of a particular
situation to enable him to formulate useful recommendations.  Also, visits do
not have the character of a judicial inquiry; they cannot replace
investigations by competent judicial authorities.

                             F.  Other activities

45.  The Special Rapporteur issued press releases following his submission of
annual reports and reports on country visits to the Commission on Human
Rights.  In addition, press releases were issued at the Special Rapporteur's
request with a view to publishing certain activities and to inform the general
public of his concern about some specific country situations.  In order to
enhance public awareness of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur offered
interviews to, inter alia, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Africa
Number 1, Radio France International, and the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, and to newspapers from various countries.  Moreover, in many
instances, the Special Rapporteur gave press conferences during his country
visits. 

46.  The Special Rapporteur regularly consulted with non-governmental
organizations or participated as a resource person in meetings and conferences
organized by them.  The Special Rapporteur also received a number of
invitations from universities or academic institutions to present lectures on
his mandate and/or related issues, which he accepted when the availability of
funds and time permitted. 

47.  The Special Rapporteur's cooperation with the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and with other United Nations bodies in the
implementation of his mandate is discussed in chapter VI, section C.


           IV.  SITUATIONS INVOLVING VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE

                            A.  Capital punishment

48.  Since 1993, the Commission on Human Rights has reiterated its request to
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. 

49.  The Special Rapporteur received numerous and/or alarming allegations
about legislation and state practices leading to the imposition and execution
of death sentences where the defendants did not fully benefit from
international guarantees and safeguards.  Such reports concerned, inter alia,
China, Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.

50.  As to death sentences handed down on persons convicted of crimes
committed when they were under 18 years of age, or legislation permitting the
imposition of capital punishment on minors, whether or not that legislation
was applied in practice, the Special Rapporteur received reports and
allegations regarding China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan and the
United States of America.  The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned
about the situation in the United States of America, where a relatively high
number of death sentences are imposed, and carried out, on minors as well as
on mentally retarded persons.

51.  More detailed information on capital punishment can be found in chapter
VI, section A, in which issues of special concern to the Special Rapporteur
are discussed.


                               B.  Death threats

52.  Reports and allegations alerting the Special Rapporteur to situations in
which the lives and physical integrity of persons are feared to be at risk
account for a large part of the information brought to his attention.  The
transmission of urgent appeals with the aim of preventing loss of life are
therefore an essential part of the Special Rapporteur's mandate.

53.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern
about the pattern of intimidation and threats, often followed by
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, persisting in Brazil,
Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru.  In each country, the lives of
human rights activists, members of the political opposition, trade unionists,
community workers, religious activists, writers and journalists were reported
to be at serious risk.  At present, the Special Rapporteur is especially
concerned about the situation in Mexico, where he noted a sharp increase in
death threats and intimidation of human rights activists, members of political
parties and journalists during 1996.  In this context, he also remains
concerned about the situation in Colombia. 


                             C.  Deaths in custody

54.  The Special Rapporteur received several allegations and reports
concerning deaths in custody in Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Bulgaria,
Cambodia, Colombia, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic
of Iran, Israel, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines,
Senegal, the Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine
and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

55.  Deaths alleged to be the result of torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment were reported in many countries, including Cameroon,
China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Kenya,
Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa and Turkey.  The Special
Rapporteur also received allegations of deaths in custody owing to medical
neglect or otherwise untenable prison conditions in the following countries: 
Azerbaijan, Colombia, Gabon, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Syrian Arab
Republic, Tajikistan and Togo.

56.  The Special Rapporteur is concerned about the persistence of allegations
of deaths in custody, suggesting patterns of violence against detainees, often
with a lethal outcome, in a number of countries including China, Egypt, India,
Pakistan and Turkey.  He is also concerned that in several countries,
inter alia, Australia, Bulgaria, France and the United Kingdom, a high
percentage of the allegations of deaths in custody concerned persons belonging
to ethnic, linguistic or national minorities.  The Special Rapporteur is
especially worried that, as a general rule, and not only in countries where a
pattern of deaths in custody appears to exist, there is little indication of
effective action by state authorities to bring to justice those responsible
for this type of violation of the right to life.


                  D.  Deaths as a result of excessive use of
                      force by law enforcement officials

57.  The Special Rapporteur received a considerable number of allegations
concerning violations of the right to life as a consequence of excessive use
of force by police and security officers.  Allegations in this category were
reported in many countries, including Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia,
Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt,
El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Mexico,
Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United
Kingdom.  The Special Rapporteur was particularly shocked by reports
concerning the deliberate use of firearms by Israeli security forces and
Brazilian military police against young children.

58.  Participants in demonstrations were reportedly killed by members of
security forces using excessive force in, inter alia, Bahrain, Bangladesh,
Chad, Chile, India, Indonesia and East Timor, Mexico, South Africa and Zaire. 
Excessive force was used by law enforcement officials in places of detention
in countries such as Brazil and Turkey.


                  E.  Deaths as a result of attacks by civil
                      defence forces and paramilitary groups

59.  Members of paramilitary groups or armed individuals cooperating with
security forces or operating with their acquiescence were also reported to
have resorted to arbitrary and excessive force.  In some instances, such
groups were reported to have been established by security forces themselves;
in other cases, they were said to be at the service of individuals and/or
organizations for the defence of a particular interest, in many cases of an
economic nature.  Violations of the right to life by paramilitary groups were
reported in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru,
the Philippines and Turkey.

60.  The Special Rapporteur is extremely concerned about the situation in
Colombia.  During 1996, he continued to receive a large number of allegations
and reports of massacres committed by paramilitary groups, such as the killing
of 14 persons, including two minors, on 22 April in Segovia, and the killing
of 11 persons, including a six-year-old child, on 3 April in Antioquia. 

61.  The Special Rapporteur was also distressed by allegations that, on
9 February 1996 seven persons from one family, including four minors and one
86-year-old man, were killed in Buenavista, Philippines by members of the
Civilian Volunteers Organization, a group of citizens operating as a
paramilitary group, which is sanctioned by the Government and has the task of
checking rebel activities. 

          F.  Violations of the right to life during armed conflicts

62.  The Special Rapporteur received numerous reports suggesting that deaths
as a consequence of armed conflicts continue to occur on an alarming scale. 
Reports of killings of persons hors de combat, and in particular of civilians
during internal armed conflicts, were received from Afghanistan, Angola,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Colombia, Croatia,
Djibouti, Guatemala, Mexico, Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan,
Turkey and Yemen. 

63.  Many thousands of persons not participating in armed confrontations were
said to have lost their lives as direct victims of conflicts, for example
through indiscriminate shelling or deliberate executions, or indirectly, as a
consequence of blocking the flow of water, food and medical supplies.  Such
measures were reported to have particularly affected children, the elderly and
those in poor health.

64.  In addition to the allegations transmitted by letter to the Governments
concerned, the Special Rapporteur also sent a number of urgent appeals on
behalf of groups of civilians in specified towns or areas which were at risk
of being attacked by government armed forces in Burundi, the Russian
Federation (Chechnya) and Sri Lanka.

65.  Communal violence, understood as acts of violence committed by one
ethnic, religious, linguistic, national or social group against another group,
was reported in Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Mali, Nigeria
and Somalia.  Government forces are often said to support one side in the
conflict or even instigate hostilities, rather than intervene to stop violence
between different groups.  The Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate the
warnings he included in his previous reports to the Commission on Human Rights
that such conflicts, if allowed to continue, may degenerate into massacres or
even genocide.  The Special Rapporteur once again expresses his profound
concern regarding the situation in the Great Lakes region.

66.  In this context, the Special Rapporteur also wishes to address the
problem of human rights violations committed by peacekeeping forces. 
Increasingly called upon to exercise peacekeeping tasks, United Nations
personnel in many countries are operating under very difficult and often
dangerous conditions.  A large number of United Nations staff have on many
occasions risked, and lost, their lives.  However, reports have been received
indicating that members of United Nations forces were themselves involved in
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings in Somalia.  The Special
Rapporteur is of the view that, as each State is bound under international law
standards, an organization, such as the United Nations, has at least the same
degree of responsibility.

67.  The Special Rapporteur recommends that members of the United Nations
field missions be held responsible for violations of rights and guarantees
contained in international human rights instruments.  It is desirable to
envisage the institution of an organ within the United Nations, or within each
peacekeeping or observer mission, to investigate human rights abuses by
members of such mission and hold their authors responsible.  Provisions should
also be included to grant compensation to the victims of such abuses or, in
the case of extrajudicial killings, to their families.  With a view to
preventing such incidents, all members of peacekeeping and observer missions
should receive thorough training in human rights matters, as well as in
mediation and conflict resolution.


                                 G.  Genocide

68.  The Special Rapporteur has observed a great reluctance in the
international community to use the term "genocide", even when reference is
made to situations of grave violations of the right to life which seem clearly
to match the criteria contained in the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  Article II of the Convention reads:

     "In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts
     committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
     ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

         "(a)  Killing members of the group;

         "(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

         "(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
               calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
               in part;

         "(d)  Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

         "(e)  Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

69.  The description of atrocities committed with intent to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as "ethnic
cleansing" particularly seems to be a euphemism.  Following his visits to the
territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur expressed the view
that the deliberate and systematic nature of killing of Muslims and Croats by
Serbs, the dissemination of pseudo-historical and political rationales for
ethnic cleansing, the disarming of the populations concerned prior to the
commencement of cleansing operations, and other circumstances, strongly
suggest the existence of a policy of killing members of a national, ethnic or
religious group, in whole or in part, consistent with the terms of the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted
in 1948.

70.  In his report to the Commission on Human Rights on his mission to
Rwanda, which took place from 8 to 17 April 1993, the Special Rapporteur
indicated that, although it was not for him to pass judgement at that stage,
the cases of intercommunal violence brought to his attention indicated very
clearly that the victims of the attacks, Tutsis in the overwhelming majority
of cases, had been targeted solely because of their ethnicity and for no other
objective reason.  He concluded that article II, subparagraphs (a) and (b), of
the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide might
therefore be considered to apply to those cases.  The Special Rapporteur
strongly regrets that the report on his visit did not receive attention from
the Government or the Commission on Human Rights.

71.  Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide stipulates that:
     
     "The following acts shall be punishable:

         "(a)  Genocide;

         "(b)  Conspiracy to commit genocide;

         "(c)  Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

         "(d)  Attempt to commit genocide;

         "(e)  Complicity in genocide"

and article IV that:  
     
     "Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in
     article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally
     responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals."

72.  In this respect, the Special Rapporteur urges the international
community and all concerned States to cooperate fully with the International
Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of
International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former
Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of
Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International
Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens
Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory
of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994, particularly by
arresting and handing over suspects, so as to bring to justice, as soon as
possible, those responsible for the above-mentioned crimes.

73.  At present, the Special Rapporteur is extremely concerned about the
situation in Burundi, which, according to the Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in Burundi, is characterized by a long series of
massacres and acts of genocide, 5/ and about the situation in the eastern part
of Zaire, where ethnic conflicts have intensified and further escalation of
violence is feared. 6/


                H.  Imminent expulsion of persons to a country
                    where their lives are in danger       

74.  The Special Rapporteur received reports about the imminent extradition,
refoulement or return of one or more persons to countries or areas where there
are grounds to believe that their lives are at risk.  During the period under
review, allegations in this category were reported in, inter alia, Burundi,
Germany, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Portugal (Macao), Sweden, Tajikistan and
the United Republic of Tanzania.


                                 I.  Impunity

75.  It is the obligation of Governments to carry out exhaustive and
impartial investigations into allegations of violations of the right to life,
to identify, bring to justice and punish their perpetrators, to grant
compensation to the victims or their families, and to take effective measures
to avoid future recurrence of such violations.  The Special Rapporteur has
noted that impunity continues to be the principal cause of the perpetuation
and encouragement of violations of human rights, and, in particular,
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.  Impunity will be discussed in
detail in chapter VI, section B.


                             J.  Rights of victims

76.  The rights of victims or their families to receive adequate compensation
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 human rights abuses with a view to
identifying and prosecuting their alleged perpetrators.  Financial or other
compensation provided to the victims or their families before such
investigations are initiated or concluded, however, does not exempt
Governments from this obligation. 

77.  The Special Rapporteur is concerned about the numerous reports he has
received indicating that in many cases no compensation was provided.  In most
cases, this seems to be the corollary of impunity.  The Special Rapporteur
regrets that, despite his requests in letters accompanying alleged cases of
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, very few States have provided
him with information in this respect.

78.  The Special Rapporteur also notes that neither of the two Security
Council resolutions establishing International Tribunals for the former
Yugoslavia and for Rwanda contain provisions concerning compensation for the
victims.  The Special Rapporteur believes that the establishment of an
international fund for reparation payments should be considered.  Such a fund
could be allocated for the payment of at least some compensation to the
victims or their families and would undoubtedly enhance faith in the work of
the Tribunals and people's willingness to cooperate with them.


            V.  ISSUES REQUIRING THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR'S ATTENTION

                 A.  Violations of the right to life of women

79.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur took action on
behalf of more than 590 women.  This figure reflects only the cases in which
it was specifically indicated that the victim was female, but does not
necessarily show the actual number of women on whose behalf the Special
Rapporteur intervened.  This is attributable mainly to two reasons:  in some
cases, sources do not indicate whether the victim is male or female and the
gender cannot be determined by the name; in other cases, allegations refer to
groups of unidentified civilians, without gender specification.

80.  The figure mentioned above shows that women make up a relatively low
percentage of purported victims of violations of the right to life reported to
the Special Rapporteur.  The under-representation of women in the political
and economic life of many countries implies that they are less perceived as a
threat and therefore less exposed to acts of violence by Governments. 
However, in areas where women are actively participating in public life, they
appear to be in a similar position as their male counterparts.  Some examples
in this regard include the following:  death threats against novelist
Taslima Nasram in 1993 in Bangladesh and Judge Antonia E. Saquicuray Sa'nchez
in June 1995 in Peru; the attempted murder of Aida Abella, President of the
Unio'n Patrio'tica of Colombia in May 1996; the killing of Lucina Ca'rdenas in
Guatemala in December 1995; and the killing in February 1996 of Zahra Rajabi,
a leading figure in the Iranian People's Mojahedin Organization in Turkey.

81.  The Special Rapporteur took action on behalf of many other women whose
lives were in danger or who had been killed in the following countries: 
Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia,
Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Liberia, Mexico,
Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines,
Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland.

82.  The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that, owing to a lack of
human resources, an in-depth analysis of gender issues has not been feasible. 
In this respect, he refers to the recommendation made at the 3rd meeting of
Special Rapporteurs, Representatives, Experts and Workings Groups of the
Commission on Human Rights, during which concerted action by the United
Nations Development Fund for Women, the United Nations Population Fund and the
Centre for Human Rights was suggested, with a view to providing support in the
recruitment of professionals who were experts on the human rights of women.


                 B.  Violations of the right to life of minors

83.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur took action on
behalf of more than 495 minors.  This figure reflects only the number of
identified minors, whose ages were reported to the Special Rapporteur.  The
Special Rapporteur notes with regret that children continue to be victims of
violations of the right to life in many countries.  The types of violations to
which children are exposed range from the death penalty to death in custody,
death owing to abuse of force and death during armed conflicts.  In Burundi,
Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda, the Russian Federation (Chechnya) and Sri Lanka,
many children have allegedly been killed in the context of armed conflict or
internal strife or have become victims of indiscriminate attacks. 

84.  The Special Rapporteur is particularly shocked by the large number of
reports he has received on the use of lethal force by members of security
forces against children and youths, which is the case in the Occupied
Territories, where a high number of youths were reportedly killed by members
of the Israeli Defence Forces, particularly in 1993.  The Special Rapporteur
also received alarming reports of deliberate use of firearms by military
police, security forces and police agents participating in "social cleansing"
activities against street children in Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala. 
Children were also reported to have died in custody in several countries,
including Bahrain, France and Germany.  The Special Rapporteur was extremely
concerned about the fact that, in the cases of France and Germany, the victims
were minors of foreign origin or belonging to ethnic minorities.  

85.  The Special Rapporteur also intervened in cases of imposition of the
death penalty on minors, for example in the cases of Salamaat Masih, a
13-year-old boy sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy, and 15-year-old
Sarah Balabagan, a Filipino girl sentenced to death in the United Arab
Emirates for murder.  The Special Rapporteur also sent urgent appeals in cases
where the death penalty was imposed for crimes committed when the accused was
a minor, namely, to the United States of America in the case of
Johnny Frank Garrett.  According to information received, since 1990, the
Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America
and Yemen are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years of age
at the time of the crime. 
 

                    C.  The right to life and mass exoduses

86.  According to information received, massive displacements of populations
resulted mainly in the context of armed conflicts, including indiscriminate
military attacks against civilians during counter-insurgency operations,
attacks by irregular armed groups, and by communal or inter-ethnic violence. 
For a broader overview of the phenomenon and its repercussions on various
aspects of human rights, reference is made to the report on internally
displaced persons submitted to the Commission on Human Rights by the
representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Francis Deng. 7/  

87.  Large-scale violations of human rights in armed conflicts, including the
right to life, have led to massive displacements of populations in
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh), Georgia (Abkhazia), Liberia, the
Russian Federation (Chechnya), Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, the Sudan and the
former Yugoslavia.

88.  Attacks by the army and paramilitary groups against the guerrillas in
Colombia have also been reported to have led to the displacement of a large
proportion of the population.  In addition, it has been reported that, in
Turkey, most of the population of Kurdish origin in the south-eastern part of
the country has been displaced as a result of the confrontation between
Turkish security forces and Kurdish Workers Party guerrillas.  Conflicts
between the Mexican Army and the Zapatista National Liberation Army caused
large numbers of people to flee from the area of strife.  The Jumma people of
the Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh, some of whom had sought refuge in
India, are another example.

89.  Displacement has also emerged as a result of ethnic violence, such as in
Rwanda and Burundi.  Confrontations between the Banyarwanda and the
autochthonous groups in North Kivu, Zaire have led to the displacement of
population and has generated a new flow of refugees, this time Zairians
seeking refuge in Rwanda, thus aggravating the already tense situation in the
Great Lakes region. 6/
 
90.  The Special Rapporteur has taken action concerning threats or violations
of the right to life directed against refugees and internally displaced
persons.  Thus, in August 1996, he transmitted an urgent appeal, together with
the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons,
on behalf of internally displaced persons who were being transported from
Khovaling district to Tavildara, an area of active armed conflict in
Tajikistan. Additionally, in April 1996, he sent an urgent appeal on behalf of
the civilian population in southern Lebanon, after Israel launched an attack
on a United Nations compound in the village of Qana, which reportedly provided
refuge to 400 civilians.  Moreover, he transmitted urgent appeals after having
been informed that Myanmar refugees living in Thailand were being attacked by
the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organization, an armed group reportedly
supported by the State Law and Order Restoration Council, Myanmar's military
authority. 

91.  During 1995, he transmitted allegations regarding the Xama'n massacre in
Guatemala, in which 11 members of the resettled community Aurora 8 de Octubre
of Kekchi origin were killed as a result of an attack by the armed forces. 
Allegations regarding acts of violence by members of the Force d'action rapide
of the armed forces against displaced people, most of them members of the Afar
community, in the Ariba suburb of the capital of Djibouti, were sent to the
Government in 1994.  In addition, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the
Government of Liberia after having been informed of a massacre of up to 600
people at a camp for displaced people at Harbel, near Monrovia, on
6 June 1993.

92.  In addition, in his previous report to the Commission on Human Rights,
the Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the Kibeho camp massacre in
Rwanda in April 1995, which caused a high number of casualties. 


           D.  Violations of the right to life of persons exercising 
               their right to freedom of opinion and expression

93.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur has taken action
on behalf of more than 2,000 persons who were said to have been killed or
threatened with death for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and
expression and peaceful assembly.  The Special Rapporteur has continuously
received reports concerning death threats, and killings of members of
opposition political parties, trade unions, student movements, community
organizations and  human rights organizations, as well as of journalists and
writers, in many countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola,
Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador,
Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia (East Timor), the Islamic
Republic of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the
Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Togo, Turkey and Uzbekistan.  

94.  The Special Rapporteur has repeatedly expressed his utmost concern
regarding killings resulting from excessive use of force by law enforcement
officials on participants in demonstrations.


            E.  The right to life and the administration of justice

95.  The Special Rapporteur has taken action on behalf of persons involved in
the administration of justice, particularly judges, prosecutors, lawyers,
complainants and witnesses in judicial proceedings, who either received death
threats or were killed.  In this context, he sent communications to more than
15 countries.  

96.  These communications included the following:

     (a) Urgent communications sent on behalf of the following persons: 
Federico Huber, lawyer in Argentina; prosecutors Mauricio Assayag and
Jose' Munhoz Pinheiro and Judge Maria Luiza Capiberibe, in Brazil; lawyers of
the Corporacio'n Colectivo de Abogados "Jose' Alvear Restrepo", in Colombia;
Mario Salvador Jime'nez, He'ctor Rau'l Orellana and
Mari'a Eugenia Villasen~or, judges at the Appeals Court of Guatemala;
Jose' Lavanderos Ya'n~ez, lawyer in Mexico; Alberto Alderete, lawyer in
Paraguay; Judge Antonia E. Saquicuray Sa'nchez and prosecutor
Ana Cecilia Magallanes, in Peru; Fevzi Veznedaroglu and Metin Can, human
rights lawyers in Turkey; 

     (b) Allegations sent regarding the killings of the following: 
Martin A. Parroquiano Cubidas, prosecutor in Colombia; Javier Alberto
Barriga Vergel, lawyer in Colombia; Abdel-Harith Madani, lawyer in Egypt;
Edgar R. Elias Ogaldez, judge in Guatemala; Jalil Andrabi, lawyer in India;
Michael Okere Mute Esiri, lawyer in Nigeria; Patrick Kebbie, lawyer in Sierra
Leone; and Meet Scirrhoid and Fail Canaan, lawyers in Turkey.


           F.  Violations of the right to life of persons belonging to
               national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities

97.  During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur transmitted
allegations to more than 17 Governments regarding persons belonging to
national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.  Communications were
sent on behalf of a large number of persons, belonging to the following
minority groups:  Chakmas in Bangladesh; Macaws indigenous people in Brazil;
Roma community in Bulgaria; Shua Arabs in Cameroon; Tibetans in China; members
of various indigenous communities in Colombia and Mexico; members of the Afar
ethnic group in Djibouti; members of the Cakchikel indigenous group in
Guatemala; leaders of Christian churches in the Islamic Republic of Iran;
Marsh Arabs in Iraq; Palestinians in Israel; Tuaregs in Mali; members of the
Karen ethnic minority in Myanmar; Ogonis in Nigeria; Christians in Pakistan;
Kurds in Turkey; African Americans in the United States of America; Yucpa
indigenous people in Venezuela; and Kasaians and Banyarwanda in Zaire. 


               G.  Violations of the right to life and terrorism

98.  The Special Rapporteur is aware of the waves of violence caused 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 killings of many innocent civilians in a number of countries, including
Algeria, Colombia, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the
Sudan and Turkey. 

99.  The Special Rapporteur expresses his repugnance at terrorist acts and
understands the difficulties that the concerned Governments face in
controlling violence by terrorist groups.  However, he has noted that, in some
countries, the Government's reaction to terrorist groups has resulted in
counter-insurgency strategies aimed at targeting those suspected to be
members, collaborators or sympathizers of those groups.  In this context, the
Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize that the right to life is absolute and
must not be derogated from, even under the most difficult circumstances. 
Governments must respect the right to life of all persons, including members
of armed groups even when they demonstrate total disregard for the lives of
others. 

100. The request made by some Governments for the Special Rapporteur to take
action with respect to killings committed by terrorists is to be noted. 
However, he wishes to emphasize that violent acts committed by terrorist
groups do not fall within the purview of his mandate, as he can only take
action when perpetrators are somehow linked to a State.  Nevertheless, he
wishes to mention that he continues to receive reports of killings by
terrorists of members of security forces and civilians, with the aim of
spreading terror and insecurity within the population.  Reports of this nature
have been received regarding Algeria, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel, Peru,
the Philippines and Turkey. 


            H.  Violations of the right to life of staff members of
                the United Nations and of the specialized agencies

101. The Special Rapporteur is extremely concerned about killings of and
death threats against United Nations staff and members of humanitarian
organizations.  He deeply regrets the killings of three representatives of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 4 June 1996 in the province
of Cibitoke, Burundi.  In his report on his mission to Burundi, 8/ the Special
Rapporteur referred, inter alia, to the alleged killing in August 1994 of a
staff member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) by military personnel in Kirundo, as well as the death
threats received by the commander of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
observer mission in Muyinga.  The Special Rapporteur took action on behalf of
Carmelo Soria, a United Nations staff member killed in Chile.

102. In addition, the Special Rapporteur deplores the large number of deaths
of United Nations peacekeepers, which were connected for the most part with
the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Somalia.

103. The Special Rapporteur calls on all Governments to ratify the 1994
Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, the
provisions of which place on them an obligation to ensure the safety and
security of United Nations personnel, including United Nations peacekeepers,
as well as persons deployed by humanitarian non-governmental organizations and
agencies that are under an agreement with the Secretary-General or a
specialized agency.


           VI.  ISSUES OF SPECIAL CONCERN TO THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR

                            A.  Capital punishment

104. The Special Rapporteur's action in response to allegations of violations
of the right to life in connection with capital punishment has been guided by
the following principles: 

     (a) The desirability of the abolition of the death penalty;

     (b) The need to ensure the highest possible fair trial standards;

     (c) The observance of special restrictions on the application of the
death penalty.


            1.  Desirability of the abolition of the death penalty

105. Although capital punishment is not yet prohibited under international
law,  the desirability of its abolition has been strongly reaffirmed on
different occasions by United Nations organs and bodies in the field of human
rights, inter alia, the Security Council, 9/ the Human Rights Committee 10/
and the General Assembly. 11/  In the same vein, reference to the report of
the Secretary-General on capital punishment, submitted to the Economic and
Social Council in 1995, 12/ is of relevance.  Reference should also be made to
the worldwide survey carried out by the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Branch of the United Nations Secretariat on developments with regard to
capital punishment. 13/  In addition, the Special Rapporteur has been informed
that new members joining the Council of Europe are required to sign within one
year and ratify within three years after joining the organization, the Sixth
Optional Protocol to the European Convention, and are also required to place a
moratorium on executions immediately thereafter.

106. During his years in office, the Special Rapporteur has received, with
concern, reports of the extension of the scope or reinstatement of the death
penalty in a number of countries, to offences previously not punishable by
death.  The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about such tendencies in
Bangladesh, China, Co^te d'Ivoire, Egypt, the Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, the
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Pakistan, Peru, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United
States of America.

107. It is worth emphasizing that article 6, paragraph 2, of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that, "in
countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be
imposed only for the most serious crimes ...".  In its comments on article 6
of the Covenant, 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, approved by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1984/50
of 25 May 1984, states that the scope of crimes subject to the death penalty
should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave
consequences.  In this regard, the Special Rapporteur wishes to express his
concern about the fact that certain countries, namely China, the Islamic
Republic of Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States of
America, maintain in their national legislation the option to impose the death
penalty for economic and drug-related offences.

108. Given that the loss of life is irreparable, the Special Rapporteur
strongly supports the conclusions of the Human Rights Committee and emphasizes
that the abolition of capital punishment is most desirable in order fully to
respect the right to life.  He also wishes to mention that, while there is a
fundamental right to life, there is no such right to capital punishment.  In
this context,  he welcomes the fact that, on 28 November 1995, the Government
of Spain removed the death penalty from the Military Penal Code, and that in
Mauritius, the Parliament passed a bill abolishing the death penalty for all
offences.

109. He welcomes decisions such as the judgement of the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
wherein the execution of a death sentence five years after it had been passed
was found to constitute cruel and inhuman punishment.  The Supreme Court of
Zimbabwe reportedly reached a similar conclusion in another case.  While
welcoming these decisions, the Special Rapporteur expresses concern that they
may encourage Governments to carry out executions of death sentences more
speedily.  In this respect, he wishes to refer to Glen Ashby in Trinidad and
Tobago, who was executed 4 years and 11 months after having been sentenced to
death, while appeal procedures were still pending. 


                                2.  Fair trial

110. In monitoring the application of existing standards relating to the
death penalty, 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, as provided for by several international instruments, 14/ must
be fully respected in every case.

111. 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,
as found in the pertinent international legal instruments.  All 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.  The proceedings must guarantee the right to
review of both the factual and the legal aspects of the case by a higher
tribunal, composed of judges other than those who dealt with the case at the
first instance.  The defendant's right to seek pardon, commutation of sentence
or clemency must also be ensured.

112. The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned about impositions 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.  Timelimits, 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.  The Special
Rapporteur also expressed concern about limitations regarding the right to
appeal in the context of special jurisdictions.  This is particularly worrying
as these special jurisdictions are generally established in situations where
rampant human rights violations already exist.  During the period under
review, reports in this regard included the following countries:  Algeria,
Egypt, Kuwait, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syrian Arab Republic.  

113. The case of Ken Saro-Wiwa, writer, environmentalist and President of the
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and eight other Ogonis,
sentenced to death allegedly after an unfair trial by the Civil Disturbances
Special Tribunal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is a clear example.  The
members of the Tribunal were, reportedly, appointed by the Government, among
which was a member of the armed forces.

114. Reports regarding the secrecy surrounding the trial and application of
the death penalty in a number of States, in particular Belarus, China and
Ukraine, are most disturbing.  In this connection, the Special Rapporteur
wishes to emphasize the fundamental importance of the right to a public trial.

It has also been brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention that in some
countries there is considerable official reluctance to reveal statistical
information on the death penalty.  This secrecy reportedly affects family
members, who are not informed in advance of the date of a relative's execution
and have no right to the body after execution. 15/


             3.  Observance of special restrictions on the application
                 of the death penalty

115. Capital punishment is prohibited for juvenile offenders under
international law.  Article 6, paragraph 5, of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights stipulates that "sentence of death shall not be
imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age ...". 
This principle has been embodied and reiterated in other international
instruments. 16/  Imposition of capital punishment on mentally retarded or
insane persons, pregnant women and recent mothers is also prohibited.  In this
respect, the Special Rapporteur wishes to express his utmost concern regarding
information, according to which, since 1990, the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America and Yemen are known to
have executed prisoners who were under 18 years of age at the time of the
crime.  He is deeply concerned about legislation in China reportedly allowing
for death sentences for minors. 

116. In addition, the Special Rapporteur has received allegations concerning
executions of mentally retarded persons in the United States of America. 
Similar reports were received concerning Kyrgyzstan.

117. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express his dismay at reports he
received in 1995, according to which, in China, organs of executed persons
were being used for transplants, and, in some instances, organs were removed
even before execution took place.  The Special Rapporteur communicated these
allegations to the Government of China.  In view of their gravity, he urges
once again the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation into the
matter and to inform him of the outcome.


                                 B.  Impunity

118. In his four reports to the Commission on Human Rights, the Special
Rapporteur made ample reference to the obligation of States to conduct
exhaustive and impartial investigations into allegations of violations of the
right to life, to identify, bring to justice and punish their perpetrators, to
grant adequate compensation to the victims or their families, and to take
effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations. 17/

119. In addition, 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 purge and try those responsible; to pay
adequate compensation to the victims or their dependants; and to prevent the
recurrence of such violations.

120. The Special Rapporteur continued to receive information that indicates
that grave violations of the above-mentioned obligations have not abated. 
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. 18/

121. In some cases, the basis for impunity lies in legislation that exempts
perpetrators of human rights abuses from prosecution.  In previous reports to
the Commission, the Special Rapporteur referred to amnesty laws in El Salvador
and Mauritania, as well as provisions granting immunity from prosecution to
members of the security forces in Bangladesh (Penal Code) and South Africa
(Further Indemnity Act).  The promulgation of an amnesty law in Peru in
June 1995, or the selective amnesty granted in February 1995 by the Togolese
National Assembly, are examples in this regard.  

122. In other cases, despite the existence of legal provisions for the
prosecution of human rights violators, impunity continues in practice.  It has
been reported that authorities often do not react to complaints filed by
victims, their families or representatives, or by international entities,
including the Special Rapporteur.  In this context, it should be recalled that
Governments are under an obligation to initiate inquiries into allegations,
ex officio, as soon as they are brought to their attention, particularly where
the alleged violation of the right to life is imminent and effective measures
of protection must be adopted by the authorities.  However, in some countries,
more often than not, investigations are not conducted.  In other countries,
despite the fact that investigations are initiated, they are never concluded,
or if they are, sentences imposed on perpetrators appear to be
disproportionate to the gravity of the crime committed, for example in East
Timor, following the Dili massacre.  There are also instances where
low-ranking officials are convicted while those in positions of command escape
responsibility. 

123. Victims of and/or witnesses to human rights violations, who assist in
investigative efforts, have also been subject to intimidation and death
threats.  Such incidents have been reported particularly in Argentina, Brazil,
Chad, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Turkey.

124. Furthermore, problems related to the functioning of the judiciary,
particularly its independence and impartiality, have also encouraged impunity.

In some countries there is no independent judiciary that could conduct such
investigations, or the justice system does not function in practice.  Such was
reported to be the case in Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Rwanda and Zaire.  In
countries 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, such as in the case of Indonesia and the Philippines, or
do not fulfil the above-mentioned requirements, and become tools used to evade
the obligation to undertake thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into
violations of the right to life.

125. The Special Rapporteur expresses his concern about reports regarding
trials of members of the security forces before military courts, where, it is
alleged, they evade punishment because of an ill-conceived esprit de corps,
which generally results in impunity.  Countries such as Colombia, Indonesia
and Peru are well-known examples.  He welcomes, however, recent jurisprudence
of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil, which has established that in matters
of crimes against children, the competent courts are the civilian tribunals,
even if the perpetrators are military officers.

126. The Special Rapporteur also wishes to refer to the International
Tribunals established under Security Council resolutions 808 (1993) and 955
(1994) for certain serious crimes, including violations of the right to life,
committed in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.  The Special Rapporteur
welcomes these initiatives.  He appeals to all Governments to cooperate fully
with these Tribunals, in the interest of holding responsible the authors of
such crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  Concerns have been
raised as to the apparent selectivity with regard to the countries for which
international tribunals have been established.  In fact, the former Yugoslavia
and Rwanda are not the only conflict areas where massive violations of human
rights and humanitarian law justify such an institution.  Others, such as
Burundi, Cambodia, Liberia and the Sudan, come readily to mind.  

127. The Special Rapporteur believes that two measures could be taken to help
overcome this perception of selectivity and contribute to a more impartial and
comprehensive approach to the problem of impunity.  These measures are:  (a)
the 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) the 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 a voluntary fund for
victims.


             C.  Cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner
                 for Human Rights and other United Nations bodies

128. The Special Rapporteur accords great importance to cooperation with
other United Nations bodies dealing with issues related to his mandate.  This
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.  The missions to Rwanda and to the former Yugoslavia, during which the
Special Rapporteur accompanied the Special Rapporteurs on Rwanda and on
Yugoslavia, at the Commission's request, also evoke that spirit of
cooperation.  The joint visit to Colombia, undertaken with the Special
Rapporteur on torture, as well as a joint mission to Nigeria, scheduled for
1996, with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and
lawyers, 19/ are other examples.

129. During his years in office, the Special Rapporteur has participated
actively in efforts to increase coordination between different United Nations
procedures.  Thus, he has sought the cooperation of United Nations human
rights monitoring missions based in certain countries, by sending to them
copies of allegations he has transmitted to the respective Governments with a
request for comments and observations.  A letter in this regard was sent to
the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) and to the United
Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM).

130. The exchange of information regarding cases of common interest with
treaty bodies, particularly the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the
Human Rights Committee, as well as with the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees, is a further example of cooperation.  In addition, recent annual
meetings of special rapporteurs, special representatives, experts and
chairpersons of working groups of the Commission on Human Rights have offered
the various mechanisms of the Commission the opportunity to discuss matters of
common interest and concern.

131. Efforts at coordination with the United Nations Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice Branch at Vienna culminated in the Special Rapporteur's
participation in the fifth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice, held at Vienna from 21 to 31 May 1996.

132. As to coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, the Special Rapporteur has had consultations regarding the former's
visits to Indonesia and Colombia and the situation in Nigeria.  In 1995, the
Special Rapporteur drew the High Commissioner's attention to the serious
situation in Burundi, and suggested that measures be taken to avoid further
eruptions of violence.  Coordination should also be strengthened regarding
visits, in order to avoid any duplication of efforts.  Furthermore, Special
Rapporteurs should be involved in consultations before setting up United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights field offices in countries of
common concern.  Such field offices are aimed at strengthening human rights
mechanisms and should therefore include in their mandates the servicing of
Special Rapporteurs.

133. The Special Rapporteur considers that there is a need for the High
Commissioner to establish stronger links with other United Nations bodies and
agencies dealing with human rights to improve coordination within the United
Nations system. 


                 VII.  CONCLUDING REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

134. The Special Rapporteur is constrained to conclude that there is no
indication that the number of violations of the right to life has decreased. 
The transmission of 818 urgent appeals and more than 6,500 cases of alleged
violations of the right to life, as well as 131 follow-up communications to
more than 80 countries during the period under review, offers an insight as to
the magnitude of the occurrence of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions worldwide. 

135. One of the most prevalent targets of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions continues to be persons involved in struggles, such as those to
secure rights to land or to prevent or combat racial, ethnic or religious
discrimination and ensure respect for social, cultural, economic, civil and
political rights.  Women, children, the elderly and the sick have not been
spared.  Even persons forced into exile and those who are internally displaced
are not exempted.

136. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as a phenomenon, tends
to be aggravated by a combination of many factors: 

     First, the inability of certain States to face social problems,
particularly those linked to rapid urbanization and a growth in poverty, has
provoked an increase in the application of the death penalty, especially with
respect to the poor and members of minority groups.  The Special Rapporteur
wishes to emphasize that the right to life is the most fundamental of human
rights.  The imposition of capital punishment by States in contravention of
the highest fair trial standards, proves the little value accorded by the
State to human life and to the respect of human rights.

     Secondly, the centrifugal forces at play on the international scene
since the end of the cold war have, in some instances, placed peoples'
identity at the centre of struggles aiming at the creation of States confined
within the interest parameters of a single ethnicity, religion or nationality.
This has often led to situations of unrest or civil war.

     Thirdly, the absence of control in arms trafficking and the facility
with which one can obtain funds through contraband and drug trafficking have
facilitated the emergence of guerrillas and have rendered their activities
economically profitable.  Caught between government and guerrilla forces, left
to fend for themselves, some populations are abandoned by both their
Governments and the international community. 

     Lastly, the collapse of the judiciary in many States, which is often
linked to the lack of a political will to render justice, has led to impunity
and/or to a selective application of justice that results in a cycle of
repression and vengeance.  Once in place, this cycle leads populations into a
situation of insecurity and aggravates their already precarious living
conditions.

137. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges with regret his powerlessness in the
face of the above-mentioned situations.  The effectiveness of the Special
Rapporteur's mandate is further hampered by the various impediments which are
built into the United Nations framework.  The Special Rapporteur is called
upon to act on information transmitted to him, but the human resources at his
disposal are increasingly disproportionate with respect to the large number of
requests placed before him.  This aspect of the problem is particularly
regrettable in the light of the expectations created by a projection that
United Nations mechanisms are equipped to provide protection to individuals
and communities.  In addition, there is no formal mechanism within the United
Nations human rights structure to follow up on recommendations made by its
experts.  Furthermore, the capacity of the United Nations to prevent human
rights crises, including genocide, is questionable.

138. Consequently, the Special Rapporteur urges the international community
to assist in the establishment of a coherent multifaceted system of prevention
of conflicts that would embody a rapid intervention component to avert the
degeneration of situations where the threat of massive human rights violations
exists.  Such a system would involve the participation not only of United
Nations organs but would also require the concerted effort of non-governmental
organizations.

139. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur deplores the fact that the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which
treats not only the repression but also the prevention of genocide, has not
gained the attention it deserves from the international community.  This
situation is particularly lamentable in the light of the fact that several
States parties to the Convention are in possession of the financial and
technical means to enable them to establish a system of rapid alert in regions
where political situations are identified as being volatile.

140. Once human rights and humanitarian violations have been committed on a
massive scale, there is no universal mechanism for the identification and
prosecution of persons suspected to have instigated or participated in the
commission of those crimes.  Moreover, there is no permanent international
judicial body that could ensure that the alleged perpetrators will be brought
to justice, even where both the political will and a functioning judiciary are
absent at the national level.  In other words, the idea of a global village
does not extend to the rule of law.

141. The Special Rapporteur considers that extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions can be prevented only if there is a genuine will on the
part of Governments to enforce the safeguards and guarantees for the
protection of the right to life of every person.  Declarations of commitment
to protection of the right to life by Governments are only effective if they
are translated into practice.  If the aim is protection of the right to life,
the emphasis must be on prevention of violations of this fundamental right and
their consequences, which are often irreparable. 


                                Recommendations

142. The international community should concentrate its efforts on the
effective prevention of further human rights crises, and on the implementation
of existing standards for the protection of the right to life.


                            1.  Capital punishment

143. 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 their domestic legislation into
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 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 criminal laws into
conformity with international legal standards.

144. 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 petitions for clemency before a
death sentence imposed by a court of first instance is executed.  Such a
measure would prevent hasty executions while affording defendants the
opportunity to exercise their rights to appeal.  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.

145. An immutable fact remains that the loss of life is irreversible and
judicial error irreparable.  A wide range of experts in sciences such as
criminology, sociology and psychology have expressed doubts concerning the
deterrent effect of capital punishment.  Therefore, Governments of countries
in which the death penalty is still enforced are urged to deploy every effort
that could lead to its abolition.  The Special Rapporteur requests the General
Assembly to adopt a resolution calling for the abolition of the death penalty.


                               2.  Death threats

146. 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.

147. 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.


                             3.  Death in custody

148. 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. 

149. Prison guards and other law enforcement personnel should receive
training on the observance of the aforementioned norms in performing their
duties.  Violations of the right to life committed by these state agents in
the course of controlling prison disturbances and preventing prison escapes
would be curbed if the agents took into consideration the rights of prisoners.

All deaths in custody should be investigated by a body that is independent
from the police or the prison authorities.

150. Because of the magnitude of the problem, the Special Rapporteur requests
the General Assembly to call on the Commission on Human Rights to appoint a
Special Rapporteur on prison conditions.


            4.  Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials

151. 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.


           5.  Violations of the right to life during armed conflict

152. All States that have not yet done so are encouraged to ratify the four
Geneva Conventions and 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 the ones
dealing with human rights.

153. 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.  Genocide

154. All Governments are encouraged to ratify the Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  The Special Rapporteur
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. 

155. The Special Rapporteur, pursuant to article 8 of the Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, encourages States 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.

156. The Special Rapporteur calls on the General Assembly and/or the
Commission on Human Rights to consider establishing a monitoring mechanism to
supervise the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide.


                7.  Imminent expulsion of persons to countries
                    where their lives are in danger       

157. 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 displacement 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.


                                 8.  Impunity

158. All States should conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into
allegations of violations of the right to life, in all of 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.  To this effect, blanket amnesty laws
prohibiting the prosecution of alleged perpetrators and violating the rights
of the victims should not be endorsed. 

159. 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 a voluntary fund for victims.

160. 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 encourages
the General Assembly to adopt them as soon as possible. 


                             9.  Rights of victims

161. All States should include in their national legislation provisions that
allow for adequate compensation and facilitate access to judicial remedies to
victims and the families of victims of violations of the right to life. 
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.

                                     Notes

     1/  E/CN.4/1992/30 and Corr.1.

     2/  See E/CN.4/1993/46, chap. II.

     3/  Until 1 September 1996.

     4/  See the annex to the present report for the list of questions to
which Governments are requested to reply.

     5/  See, also, E/CN.4/1996/16/Add.1, para. 50.

     6/  See E/CN.4/1997/6/Add.1.

     7/  E/CN.4/1996/52.

     8/  E/CN.4/1996/4/Add.1.

     9/  Security Council resolutions 808 (1993) of 22 February 1993 and
955 (1994) of 8 November 1994 on the establishment of international criminal
jurisdictions of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, respectively, excluded the
death penalty, establishing that imprisonment was the sole penalty to be
imposed by these tribunals for crimes as abominable as genocide and crimes
against humanity.

     10/ The Human Rights Committee, in its comments on article 6 of the
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, observed that this provision also
refers generally to abolition in terms which strongly suggest that abolition
is desirable (paras. 6(2) and (6)).  The Committee concluded that all measures
of abolition should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to
life.

     11/ General Assembly resolutions 2393 (XXIII), 2857 (XXVI) and 39/118.

     12/ E/1995/78 and Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1.

     13/ Fifth Survey on Capital Punishment and on the Implementation of
Safeguards Guaranteeing the Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death
Penalty, 1995.

     14/ Articles 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,
articles 9, 14 and 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, the safeguards guaranteeing protection for all those facing the death
penalty, as well as Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/65.

     15/ See Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/64, para. 5.

     16/ Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Standard
Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules)
and the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the
death penalty.

     17/ See Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of
Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (Economic and Social Council
resolution 1989/65, annex), which set forth in detail the above-mentioned
obligations, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law
Enforcement Officials.

     18/ See principle 19 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and
Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, which states,
in part, "In no circumstances ... shall blanket immunity from prosecution be
granted to any person allegedly involved in extra-legal, summary or arbitrary
executions".

     19/ At the time of finalizing the present report, no answer had been
received from the Nigerian authorities regarding the mission.


                                   Appendix

      QUESTIONS TO WHICH GOVERNMENTS ARE REQUESTED TO REPLY IN REGARD TO
        ALLEGED CASES OF EXTRAJUDICIAL, SUMMARY OR ARBITRARY EXECUTIONS


1.   What is the cause of death as indicated in the death certificate?

2.   Was an autopsy conducted?  If so, by whom?  What are the results of the
     autopsy?  (Please provide a copy of the complete autopsy report.)

3.   Has a complaint, formal or informal, been made on behalf of the victim? 
     If so, who made the complaint and what is their relation to the victim? 
     To whom was the complaint made?  What action was undertaken upon receipt
     of the complaint and by whom?

4.   Which is the authority responsible for investigating the allegations? 
     Which is the authority responsible for prosecuting the perpetrators?

5.   Are any inquiries, judicial or other procedures in connection with the
     case under way?  If so, please provide details of their progress to
     date, and the timetable envisaged for their conclusion.  If such
     inquiries or procedures have been completed, please provide details of
     the conclusions reached.  (Please attach copies of any relevant
     documents.)  Are these conclusions definitive?

6.   Has the person alleged to have carried out the extrajudicial, summary or
     arbitrary execution been identified?  To which unit or branch of the
     police, security forces, armed forces or groups cooperating with them
     does he/she belong?

7.   Have penal or disciplinary sanctions been imposed on the alleged
     perpetrators?  If so, please provide details of the procedures followed
     to ascertain the penal or disciplinary responsibility of the
     perpetrators before imposing such penalties.  If no such sanctions have
     been imposed, why not?

8.   If no inquiries have been undertaken, why not?  If the inquiries which
     were undertaken were inconclusive, why so?

9.   Has any compensation been provided to the family of the victim?  If so,
     please provide details, including the type and the amount of the
     compensation involved.  If no compensation has been provided, why not?

10.  Please provide such other information or observations concerning the
     present case as you consider relevant.


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