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The right to life is enshrined in both article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Exceptional circumstances including a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may not be invoked as a justification of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, which amount to violations of the right to life.
An “extrajudicial” execution refers to killings committed by the State authorities outside the judicial or legal process. A “summary” execution is the instantaneous deprivation of life as a result of a sentence imposed by the means of a summary procedure, in which the due process guarantees are not respected. An “arbitrary” execution results from the killing of persons by the order of a government or with its complicity, tolerance or acquiescence, without any judicial or legal process.
Since its establishment, Alkarama has raised hundreds of cases to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (SR SUMX) in different situations involving violations of the right to life. These include victims sentenced to capital punishment following an unfair trial; deaths in custody due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officials or in the context of attacks by States' security forces; as well as cases of violations of the right to life in armed conflict.
On 3 February 2017, Alkarama raised the case of 15 women and children, who, on 29 January 2017, were killed in a military operation in the Al Bayda Governorate in Yemen by American and Emirati military forces, with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SRSUMX), Dr Agnes Callamard.
On 25 January 2017, Alkarama alerted the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) of the abduction of seven students – ranging from 16 to 22 years old – by the State Security between October 2016 and January 2017. Despite their families’ numerous attempts to clarify their fate and whereabouts, the authorities continue to deny their detention.
On the morning of 10 January 2017, as children were making their way to the Al Fallah Model School in the town of Bani Mesar in the Nihm District of Sana’a Governorate, the Saudi-led coalition striked the town, killing a school teacher and two students.
On 28 July 2016, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) of Riyadh sentenced Abdelkarim Al Hawaj to death after a flawed trial in which, confessions made under torture were admitted as sole evidence. On 24 November 2016, Alkarama raised his case with the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions (SUMEX), calling for her intervention with the Saudi authorities to demand the repeal of Abdelkarim’s death sentence.
Nader Snoussi Ali Al Omrani, a 44-year-old well respected religious scholar, was abducted on 6 October 2016 in Tripoli by several members of the RADA forces, which pledged allegiance to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). His family has not heard from him since; however, they fear he was killed while secretly detained following the release of a video in which a young man confesses to his execution.
On 1 June 2016, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) of Riyadh sentenced Mounir Aal Adam to death after admitting confessions made under torture into evidence. On 16 August 2016, Alkarama raised his case with the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions (SUMEX), calling for her urgent intervention with the Saudi authorities to demand that the death penalty Mounir was sentenced to not be applied.
Alkarama is deeply concerned by the ongoing repression against students and political opposition activists in diverse universities campuses across Sudan. This crackdown led to the arrest of dozens of students and the killing of at least two others by National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officers in April 2016.
On 5 November 2015, Alkarama sent a communication to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition (SR Truth) to inform him that the relatives of Nasreddine and Messaoud Fedsi − both arrested and summarily executed by the Taher police on
The use of drones by the USA to commit targeted assassinations in Yemen should be considered, and qualified, as extrajudicial executions.