Mr. Alexis Dipanda Mouelle (Cameroon)
VICE-CHAIRMEN: Mr. Peter Thomas Burns (Canada), Mr. Fawzi El Ibrashi
(Egypt), Mr. Hugo Lorenzo (Uruguay)
RAPPORTEUR: Mr. Bent Sorensen (Denmark)
MEMBERS: Mr. Ricardo Gil Lavedra (Argentina), Mrs. Julia Iliopoulos-Strangas
(Greece), Mr. Mukunda Regmi (Nepal), Mr. Habib Slim (Tunisia), Mr.
Alexander M. Yakovlev (Russia)
The fourteenth session of the Committee was attended by all the
members, except Mr. Hugo Lorenzo, who was not authorized to travel
by the United Nations on the grounds of incompatibility between his
present status of international civil servant and that of member of
||B. M'B. v. Tunisia, Comm. 14/1994,
U.N. Doc. A/50/44, at 69 (CAT 1994)
||Report of the Comm. against Torture, U.N. GAOR, 50th
Sess., Supp. No. 44, U.N. Doc. A/50/44, Annex V, at 69 (May 5, 1995)
against Torture, established under article 17 of the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
Meeting on 5 May 1994,
Adopts the following:
Decision on admissibility
1. The author of the communication is B. M'B., a Tunisian national,
currently residing in France with the status of political refugee. He
submits the communication on behalf of the late Faļsal Barakat and his
family. He claims that they are victims of violations by Tunisia of articles
2, paragraph 1, 11, 12, 13 and 14, of the Convention against Torture.
The Facts as Submitted by the Author:
2.1 The author states that the alleged victim, Faļsal Barakat, a university
student in Tunisia, was arrested in the morning of 8 October 1991 by members
of the Intelligence Brigade of the Nabeul National Guard. Upon his arrest,
he was reportedly beaten and towards noon he was brought to the quarters of
the Brigade where his "hands and feet were bound and he was suspended
between two chairs on a big stick, with his head down and the soles of his
feet and his buttocks showing, in which is commonly called the 'roast
chicken' position. The blows and screams continued from then until
nightfall, when officers threw him out into the corridor after bringing
another prisoner into the office. Faļsal Barakat was in a very bad condition
and seemed to be dying. The officers nevertheless prohibited the 30 or so
prisoners present, including his own brother, Jamel, from giving him
assistance. One half hour later, he seemed to have died."
2.2 On 17 October 1991, the victim's father was taken to Tunis by the Chief
of the Traffic Police; he was informed that his son had died in a car
accident. At the Charles Nicole Hospital, he was asked to identify his son
among the many corpses in the mortuary. He noted that his son's face was
disfigured and difficult to recognize. He was not allowed to see the rest of
the body. He was made to sign a statement in which he recognized that his
son was killed in an accident; at that time, his other son Jamel was still
in prison, allegedly as a hostage to prevent his father from denouncing the
circumstances of Faļsal's death. At the funeral, the police carried the
coffin and supervised the ceremony; the coffin remained closed.
2.3 The author submits several medical reports, based on the official
autopsy report, concluding that the victim died as a result of the torture
2.4 The author asks the Committee to request Tunisia to take measures to
protect the physical, moral and economic security of his family, the
victim's family and the witnesses and their families.
2.5 Finally, the author states that the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International in London has accepted to provide evidence in support of his
2.6 By letters of 12 September 1994, 8 October 1994 and 26 April 1995, the
author expresses concern over the safety of witnesses who reportedly have
been detained and questioned by Tunisian authorities in connection with the
communication before the Committee. Moreover, members of the author's and
the victim's families have been allegedly subjected to intimidation.
The State Party's Information:
3.1 By submissions of 9 August, 10 November 1994 and 18 April 1995, the
State party denies the author's allegations and claims that the
communication is inadmissible, invoking rule 107 of the Committee's rules of
procedure and arguing that communications must be presented by victims or
their representatives, properly designated and authorized. It is contended
that Mr. B. M'B. has not been duly authorized by the family to present a
claim before the Committee.
3.2 Moreover, the State party argues that it appears that the author is
acting as a representative of Amnesty International, and that he therefore
has no standing under article 22 of the Convention.
4.1 Before considering any claims contained in a communication, the
Committee against Torture must decide whether or not it is admissible under
article 22 of the Convention and its rules of procedure.
4.2 Article 22, paragraph 1, of the Convention stipulates that "a State
party to this Convention may at any time declare under this article that it
recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider
communications from or on behalf of individuals subject to its jurisdiction
who claim to be victims of a violation by a State party of the provisions of
the Convention" (emphasis added).
4.3 Rule 107, paragraph 1 (b), of the Committee's rules of procedure
provides: "... The communication should be submitted by the individual
himself or by his relatives or designated representatives or by others on
behalf of an alleged victim when it appears that the victim is unable to
submit the communication himself, and the author of the communication
justifies his acting on the victim's behalf".
4.4 The Committee has examined the author's arguments and the State party's
objections concerning the issue of standing for purposes of admissibility.
The Committee finds that at this stage, the author has not submitted
sufficient proof to establish his authority to act on behalf of the victim.
5. The Committee therefore decides:
(a) That the communication is inadmissible;
(b) That the Committee may receive and consider a new communication on this
matter submitted by any author, provided that his standing to act on behalf
of the alleged victim is properly established;
(c) That the State party should be again requested, as expressed in the
Committee's decision of
21 April 1994, to ensure that no harm is done to the author's family, the
alleged victim's family or the witnesses and their families;
(d) That this decision shall be communicated to the author and to the State
[Done in English, French, Russian and Spanish, the English text being the