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Democratic and People’s Republic of Algeria



 Like other North African countries, Algeria experienced the Arab Spring in 2011. Following the popular uprising, the government instituted some political and legal reforms for associations, political parties, elections and the media. The Algerian also government lifted the state of emergency that had lasted for two decades. However, the Algerian regime has proved resistant to popular pressure, enacting simple legislative changes that have done little to alter the status quo. The Government adopted constitutional reforms in 2016 that, inter alia, restored presidential term limits. However, the amendments have been criticized as insufficient, in part because they failed to create a real balance of power between the legislative and judicial branches, on the one hand, and the all-powerful executive on the other. Algeria has been a State Party to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights since 2003. However, the State has not yet made the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals.


Treaty ratification Process

The Algerian Constitution (arts.91(9), 149,150,186,190) gives the President of the Republic the power to conclude and ratify international treaties. Certain treaties require the separate and express approval of both Chambers of Parliament, including: armistice agreements, peace treaties, treaties creating alliances and unions, treaties relating to state borders, treaties relating to personal status, treaties involving expenses not provided for in the budget, bilateral or multilateral agreements on free trade zones, and treaties relating to economic associations or integration. When constitutional questions arise during the ratification process, the Constitutional Council determines the constitutionality of treaties and a treaty cannot be ratified if the Council rules that the treaty is unconstitutional. In this regard, the Constitution does not provide any flexibility, unlike constitutions of some other countries that nonetheless allow ratification if the Constitution is first revised. Treaties duly ratified by the President of the Republic are hierarchically superior to legislative acts. The Constitutional Council has also confirmed the superiority of international treaties over domestic laws and furthermore clarified the direct domestication of treaties in the internal legal order in the following terms: “[…] after its ratification and as soon as it is published, every convention becomes part of the national law and through the application of article 123 of the constitution, acquires an authority superior to that of the laws, authorizing any Algerian citizen to invoke it before the courts,[…].” Accordingly, Algeria is a monist country.


State of legislation on International and transnational crimes

Algeria does not have any legislation on the core international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Algerian penal code criminalizes terrorism and money laundering while the specific law no. 05-01 of 2005 deals with the prevention and the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Also, the Penal Code criminalizes corruption along with the law no. 2006-01 of 2006 on the prevention and fight against corruption. The Penal Code also punishes the crime of trafficking in persons. However, Algeria lacks legislation on other crimes criminalized in the Malabo Protocol including the unconstitutional change of government, piracy, mercenarism, trafficking in drugs, trafficking in hazardous wastes, illicit exploitation of natural resources, and the crime of aggression.


Human Rights treaty signing and ratification trends  

Algeria has ratified almost all of the AU human rights instruments, including two that establish judicial bodies and all crime-based treaties. The State has not, however, ratified the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights or the Malabo Protocol amending it. It takes Algeria an average time of 76 months between signature and ratification of AU treaties. At the UN level, Algeria has ratified eight of nine core human rights treaty and three of nine optional protocols and 3 crime-based treaties. The average time between signature and ratification for UN instrument is 69 months.

AU Judicial bodies membership 

Treaty Signature Ratification
Protocol to the African Charter on Human And Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Yes Yes
Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union Yes Yes
  Protocol on The Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Merger Protocol) Yes No
Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights No No