UN Authority Figures

UN General Assembly Sixth Committee, the Legal Committee, Vice-Chair: Algeria

Amine Sidhoum, an Algerian lawyer, was arrested and convicted for criticizing the judiciary. (Amnesty International, November 26, 2008)

Mission of the Sixth Committee, the Legal Committee, of the General Assembly: "The Sixth Committee is the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly." (General Assembly - Legal Committee web-site, "Sixth Committee")

Term of office: 2008-2009

Algeria's Record on legal questions:
"Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, the president exercises supreme judicial authority, and executive branch decrees and influence limited judicial independence...[I]n practice authorities did not completely respect legal provisions regarding defendants' rights and denied due process. The High Judicial Council is responsible for judicial discipline and the appointment of all judges. President...serves as the president of the Council...The law does not provide a person in detention the right to a prompt judicial determination of the legality of the detention...The judiciary was not fully independent and impartial in civil matters and lacked independence in human rights cases. Family connections and status of the parties involved reportedly influenced decisions...For courts to hear charges of disappearance, the law requires at least two eyewitnesses...the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) reported its concerns that [l]aw provides impunity for members of armed groups and state officials and that the government had not yet initiated proceedings to investigate the fate of the disappeared...The penal code states that a person must be incapacitated for 15 days or more and present a doctor's note certifying the injuries before filing charges for battery." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2008, Algeria)