Fundamental human rights are protected in Angola's 2010 Constitution, including to life, liberty, and security. According to Article 30: "The state shall respect and protect human life, which is inviolable." It is further provided that: "The state shall respect and protect the human person and human dignity."Art. 31(2), 2010 Constitution.Article 36 concerns the right to physical freedom and personal security:
1. Everyone shall have the right to physical freedom and individual security.
2. No-one may be deprived of their freedom, except in cases prescribed by the Constitution and the law.
3. The right to physical freedom and individual security shall also involve:
a) The right not to be subjected to any form of violence by public or private entities;
b) The right not to be tortured or treated or punished in a cruel, inhumane or degrading manner;
c) The right to fully enjoy physical and mental integrity ...
According to Article 47:
1. Freedom of assembly and peaceful, unarmed demonstration shall be guaranteed to all citizens, without the need for any authorisation and under the terms of the law.
2. The appropriate authorities must be given advance notification of meetings and demonstrations held in public places, under the terms and for the purposes established in law.
The state and public corporate bodies are civily liable for human rights violations committed by their organs and agents in their duties, and individuals are subject to criminal and disciplinary sanctions for any violations for which they are responsible.Art. 75, 2010 Constitution.
The role of the National Police Force is also described in the Constitution.
1. The National Police Force shall be the national, permanent, regular and non-partisan police institution, organised on a hierarchical basis and in terms of the discipline required for the protection and safety of the country by the police force, with strict respect for the Constitution, the laws and any international conventions to which Angola may be a party.
3. The law shall regulate the organisation and functioning of the National Police Force.Art. 210, 2010 Constitution.
The Constitution does not address state use of force in any detail, although a general provision stipulates that:
The Republic of Angola shall act using all appropriate legitimate means to preserve national security and shall reserve the right to resort to legitimate force to restore peace and public order, in compliance with the Constitution, the law and international law.Art. 203 (Right to national security and legitimate defence), 2010 Constitution.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||Signatory|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||N/A|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Signatory|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Signatory|
|1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights||State Party|
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court||Signatory|
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions||N/A|
|Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights||Not party|
Police Use of Force
Angola’s National Police is a militarised force that is obligated to respect fundamental rights and freedoms in tackling criminality. Harm caused by police abuse of their powers is to be criminally repressed. Applicable national legislation also institutes the principle of command responsibility, notably in the case of torture or other forms of inhuman treatment.Art. 357, Criminal Code.
Under Article 2 ("Fundamental principles") of the 2002 National Security Law:
1. National security activity shall be guided by the observance of the general police rules and respect for the rights, freedoms and guarantees and other principles of the democratic rule of law.
2. Police and security measures shall be those provided for by law and shall not be used beyond what is strictly necessary.
With regard to the use of firearms, the 1996 National Police Discipline Regulations issued by the Council of Ministers oblige police officers:
Not to make use of arms, except in the case of an imperative need to repel an attack or its imminent attempt, against themselves or against their post of service; or when the maintenance of the order so requires; or whenever their superiors so determine; and also to secure, where indispensable, any detained persons.Art. 5(38), National Police Discipline Regulations, issued by Council of Ministers Decree No. 41/96, 27 December 1996.
This provision does not comply with international standards governing police use of force.
Use of Force in Custodial Settings
Excessive or abusive force against detainees is prohibited by the 1996 National Police Discipline Regulations.Art. 5(48), National Police Discipline Regulations, issued by Council of Ministers Decree No. 41/96, 27 December 1996.However, this provision also includes an explicit exception where force is used in cases where the detainee offers resistance, tries to escape, or succeeds in escaping and is in flight.
The Angolan National Police is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Interior, and its General Command is responsible for the oversight of their activities and application of disciplinary measures.Arts. 6 and 9, 1993 Ministerial Decree on the Angolan National Police.Angola has no independent body in charge of supervising police activity.
In 2013, the Human Rights Committee regretted in its concluding observations on Angola that no independent complaints authority exists to deal with complaints about excessive use of police force, which are currently only dealt with by a police force investigator. Nonetheless, the independent Justice Provider (Ombudsman) also conducts oversight of human rights compliance and has issued reports on public complaints on police abuse in 2011 and 2012, especially regarding unlawful arrests.See variously: Art. 192, National Constitution; Arts. 1, 4, and 18, Statute of the Justice Provider, 28 April 2006; Justice Provider’s Office, "Report on the First Semester of 2012"; and Justice Provider’s Office, "Report on the year of 2011".
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In 2019, in its Concluding Observations on Angola's implementation of the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee noted that
the legal framework regulating the maintenance of public order, in particular the National Police Discipline Regulations of 1996, is not in line with international standards..Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Angola's second periodic report, UN doc. CCPR/C/AGO/CO/2, 8 May 2019, §25.
The Committee called on Angola to
(a) Ensure that the principles of necessity and proportionality in the use of force are adequately reflected in legislation and policies and complied with in practice, in line with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials;
(b) Intensify the provision of training on international standards on the use of force to law enforcement personnel and raise awareness of those standards among judges, prosecutors and lawyers;
(c) Ensure that all instances of excessive use of force by security forces are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, that those responsible are brought to justice and punished with appropriate penalties and that victims are provided with effective remedies.Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Angola's second periodic report, UN doc. CCPR/C/AGO/CO/2, 8 May 2019, §26.
Angola has not ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, allowing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights to hear cases alleging a violation of the Charter by the state.
Criminal prosecutions of police officers for unlawful use of force are believed to be rare. In 2017, Angola's Constitutional Court dismissed the charges against the former Police Delegate of Luanda, Antônio Manuel Gamboa Vieira Lopes, who was accused of having ordered the abduction and killing of Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Cassule. Other officers of the National Police were, however, held responsible for serious criminal offences.Constitutional Court, Chamber Judgment No. 464/2017 (Procedure No. 530-C/2016).