Constitutional Provisions

The 2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) stipulates that: "The right to life is inviolable. ... No one has the right to take the life of another person."Art. 3, 2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast.The Constitution also prohibits torture and inhuman, cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment.Art. 4, 2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast.

Freedoms of assembly and peaceful demonstration are guaranteed by law.Art. 20, 2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast.

The use of force by the police or other law enforcement agencies is not specifically regulated by the Constitution.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties

1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not 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 Yes
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

There is no detailed legislation governing police use of force and firearms in Ivory Coast. 

Force may be used to disperse an unlawful gathering if law enforcement officials are subjected to violence. Limits are not imposed on the force that may be used.

But when an official uses violence or causes violence to be used towards persons in or during the exercise of their functions without legitimate reason, they are to be punished according to the nature and gravity of the violence.Art. 238, Penal Code.

Use of Force in Custodial Settings

The 1960 Code of Criminal Procedure governs use of force in prisons. Prison officers should only use force against detainees in the case of self-defense, attempted escape, or resistance through violence or passive refusal to obey orders.Art. 61, 1960 Code of Criminal Procedure.Firearms may be used:

  • When the personnel is the object of violence or assault or when the personnel is threatened by armed individuals;
  • When an inmate escapes and does not comply with repeated "stop" calls made out loud;
  • When individuals in groups, whether from within or from outside the prison, seek to force open the doors and it is not possible to prevent this other than by the use of arms.Art. 64, 1960 Code of Criminal Procedure.

In a case of self-defence, firearms must always be aimed at the legs.Art. 64, 1960 Code of Criminal Procedure.

These rules are considerably more permissive than international law allows.

Police Oversight

There is no external, independent civilian oversight of the police in Ivory Coast. The General Directorate of the National Police (La Direction Générale de la Police Nationale, DGPN) is responsible for investigating alleged abuses of police powers.



Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2015 Concluding Observations on Ivory Coast, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern 

about the numerous cases of torture by the police, defence and security forces, particularly at the National Surveillance Directorate (DST) and the Centre for the Coordination of Operational Decisions, and by the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire. It is also concerned about reports that torture has neither been defined nor criminalized in the Criminal Code, so that it is difficult to institute prosecutions for torture. The Committee is concerned, in addition, about allegations that perpetrators of acts of torture enjoy impunity, and it notes the lack of information concerning investigations, prosecutions and convictions for acts of torture in the report of the National Commission of Inquiry and concerning those conducted in the State party during the period from 2000 to 2010. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the lack of an independent and effective mechanism for receiving and investigating allegations of torture by the police and defence forces.


In 2018, the African Commission on and Peoples’ Rights issued its Concluding Observations on Ivory Coast. It called on the authorities to put in place a national mechanism to prevent torture in police stations, detention centres, and other places.


There are no details of any recent cases of prosecution of law enforcement officials for excessive use of force.


2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast (French original)

2016 Constitution of the Ivory Coast (English translation)

Code Pénal (Cote d'Ivoire)

1960 Code of Criminal Procedure (French original)

Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations on Ivory Coast (2015)

ACHPR Concluding Observations on Ivory Coast (2018) (French original)