According to the 2010 Constitution of the Fifth Republic of Madagascar:
The right of all persons to life is protected by the Law. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of life. Death is not considered as inflicted in violation of this Article in the cases where it would result from recourse to the force rendered absolutely necessary in the defence of persons against illegal violence.Art. 8, 2010 Constitution of Madagascar.
It is further stipulated that: "No one may be submitted to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment."Art. 8, 2010 Constitution of Madagascar.
The Constitution includes a guarantee of the political neutrality of the police.Art. 39, 2010 Constitution of Madagascar.The Prime Minister is given control of the police to enable him or her to ensure security, peace, and stability throughout the national territory and in accordance with respect for national unity.Art. 65(9), 2010 Constitution of Madagascar.
Under Article 10, the freedom of assembly is "guaranteed to all and may only be limited by the respect for the freedoms and rights of others, and by the imperative of safeguarding the public order, the national dignity and the security of the State."
|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||State Party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court||Signatory|
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions||N/A|
|Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights||Not party|
Police Use of Force
There are two main law enforcement agencies in Madagascar. The National Police is responsible for urban areas while the Gendarmerie Nationale are responsible for policing outside urban areas. The National Police falls under the Ministry for Public Security, whereas the Gendarmerie falls under the Ministry of National Defence. The army has also been involved in supporting law enforcement operations.US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:
Police use of force is regulated by a 2012 Code of Conduct. According to the Code, force may only be used when strictly necessary and for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
When force is indeed necessary, a police officer must not cause serious pain or suffering or inflict cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment on any person.Art. 38, 2012 Code of Conduct.
With respect to use of firearms, the police must comply with "laws and regulations in force" and only use a firearm when it is "strictly necessary and proportionate" to do so.Art. 40, 2012 Code of Conduct.Intentional lethal use of firearms is prohibited.Art. 40, 2012 Code of Conduct.National legislation should set out a prohibition on police use of firearms purely to protect property. They should only be used where strictly necessary against persons who pose an imminent threat to life or of serious injury or a grave and proximate threat to life.
Currently, there is no specific external police oversight body in Madagascar. The Constitution provided for an "independent agency" to promote and protect human rights, but a decision by the National Assembly in 1994 resulted in the role being assigned to a national Ombudsman. This office is responsible for informing citizens about their human rights and submitting annual reports about how those are being respected by police and other government agencies, but it has been criticised for relying on moral persuasion rather than concrete action.African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum, An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa, 2008, Entry on Madagascar, p. 41.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In 2017, in its Concluding Observations on Madagascar the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern
by allegations that persons are subjected to acts of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment during arrest and police custody. In this connection, it remains concerned by the lack of data on investigations, prosecutions and convictions in cases of torture and ill-treatment....Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Madagascar, UN doc. CCPR/C/MDG/CO/4, 22 August 2017, §29.
The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights does not have jurisdiction to hear human rights cases pertaining to Madagascar, including with respect to the use of force by the Madagascan police.
The extent to which police officers are held accountable for excessive use of force is questionable. In its 2015 report on human rights in Madagascar, the United States Department of State reported that:
The government did not always prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government, and impunity remained a problem.