Constitutional Provisions

The 1991 Constitution of Gabon (as amended through 2011) "recognizes and guarantees the inalienable and imprescriptible human rights", which include the prohibition on cruel treatment.Art. 1(1), 1991 Constitution of Gabon (as amended through 2011).The Constitution does not, however, explicitly protect the right to life.

It is stipulated that the "defence of the Nation and the maintenance of public order are essentially assured by the forces of defense and national security".Art. 1(20), 1991 Constitution of Gabon (as amended through 2011).The Constitution does not, though, lay down regulations governing the use of force for law enforcement purposes. 

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 Not party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 State Party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court State Party
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions No
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Under the 1963 Penal Code of Gabon, the police

called to disperse an unlawful assembly or to ensure the enforcement of a judgment or judicial warrant, can use force if violence or assault is taken against them or if they cannot otherwise defend the ground they occupy positions or whose custody is entrusted to them. In other cases, the crowd dissipated by force after the prefect or sub-prefect, the mayor or one of his deputies, a police commissioner or other bearer police officer insignia of his office: 

I.    has announced his presence by an audible or light signal as to effectively warn individuals constituting the crowd; 
II.    has summoned those involved in the gathering to disperse;
III.    has proceeded in the same manner to a second, then to a third summoning if the first remained without result.Art. 80, Law No. 21/63 of 31 May 1963.

The responsibility for enforcing the law in Gabon is in the hands of the National Gendarmerie. 

Police Oversight

An Ordinance was adopted in 2010 on the status of the national police force.Ordinance No. 013/PR/2010 of 9 April 2010.Article 135 establishes two categories of culpable police action (disciplinary breaches and misconduct).

Caselaw

Global

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2013 Concluding Observations on Gabon, the Committee against Torture stated it had

some concerns as to the independence and impartiality of inquiries into allegations that members of the police force have committed acts of torture in view of the fact that, as provided for in article 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, they may be conducted by criminal investigation police officers.

Downloads

1991 Constitution of Gabon (as amended through 2011) (English translation)

2010 Ordinance on the Status of the National Police Force

Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Gabon (2013)