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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 185th session
(Geneva, 21 October 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of the aforementioned six members of the Parliament of Madagascar, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/185/11(b)-R.1),

Taking into account the meeting the Committee held with Ms. Eliane Naika on 18 October 2009 during the 121st Assembly,

Considering that the case in question has to be considered in the following political context:

  • In March 2009, following two months of clashes, the former mayor of Antananarivo, Mr. Andry Rajoelina, seized power with the backing of the army and established a self-proclaimed High Transitional Authority (HAT), presided over by him; the HAT suspended the National Assembly and the Senate and forced the elected President, Marc Ravalomanana, to leave the country; on 23 April 2009, the High Constitutional Court declared itself incompetent to consider several petitions to declare the suspension of parliament unconstitutional; the coup d’état has been widely condemned by the international community;

  • Apolitical dialogue, coordinated by the Joint Mediation Support Team for Madagascar under the auspices of the African Union, SADC (Southern African Development Community), OIF and the United Nations was set up to endeavour to restore constitutional order, peace and stability to Madagascar; on 9 August 2009, the four leaders of the political movements of Madagascar reached an agreement on the establishment of an inclusive, consensual, neutral and peaceful transition (Maputo Agreement); the Agreement also provides for the annulment of all administrative and criminal sanctions concerning political offences handed down on politicians, civilians or the military during the period December 2002 to August 2009; a meeting in late August 2009, called Maputo II, ended in failure as no agreement could be reached as to the presidency during the transitional period,
Noting that the parliamentarians concerned all belong to the so-called legalist group, which favours the return to the constitutional order and supports President Ravalomanana,

Considering the following information on file regarding the situation of Mr. Lantoniaina Rabenatoandro, Mr. Henri Randrianjatovo, Mr. Mamisoa Rakotomandimby and Mr. Raymond Rakotozandry:

  • The four parliamentarians were arrested on 23 April by soldiers acting on the orders of the HAT just before they reportedly attempted to open the regular session of parliament scheduled for 2 May 2009;

  • According to the source, the arrest took place in the following conditions: after searching them and stealing everything, the soldiers forced the parliamentarians concerned to kneel by the side of the road with a board bearing the words “SE M. le Président Marc Ravalomanana” tied around their necks; Senator Rabenatoandro and Deputy Randrianjatovo were both slapped twice and the other deputies were butted with Kalashnikovs; once they had been seen by the journalists, they were taken by truck from the gendarmerie to several places before being brought, at 5.30 p.m., to Ambohibao to the office of the Joint National Commission of Inquiry; after being searched a third time, they were locked up and held until Saturday, 25 April 2009, in separate cells measuring 1.50 m x 2.50 m, then taken to the court in Anosy to appear before the prosecutor of the Court of First Instance; the latter informed them of the charges against them, namely distribution of weapons, distribution of money, incitation to civil war and public unrest, and destruction of public property; they denied all the charges; a committal order was issued and they were transported to Antanimora prison, where they were held; according to the source, at no time did they have the benefit of counsel;

  • The Foreign Minister has provided the following information: there is no contesting the lawfulness of the deputies’ arrest or prosecution, as the charges against them are governed by Articles 89, 91.1 and 318.1 of the Penal Code; they have been indicted for plotting and incitement to civil war and charged with having committed acts liable to disrupt public order; the rules of penal procedure were also respected and the judicial measures taken, including their detention on remand, were justified by the need not only to halt the physical clashes between the two rival camps, but also and above all to prevent the clashes from continuing and spreading; steps were taken to expedite the handling of their cases and the investigative phase was nearing completion;

  • Regarding the parliamentarians’ state of health, in particular that of Senator Rabenatoandro, and their conditions of detention, the Foreign Ministry reported that all four men had been seen by a doctor on admission to the Central Prison and that the chief physician had established individual medical follow-up plans for them; the parliamentarians, who were being held in the section reserved for VIP prisoners, were free to receive visits from their lawyers and families; according to the source, the parliamentarians concerned have been visited by the ambassadors of the United States of America, Germany, South Africa and France;

  • On 18 August 2009 they were released after having been sentenced to a 12‑month suspended prison term; an appeal is pending,
Considering the information on file regarding Mr. Randrianatoandro Raharinaivo:
  • According to the source, Mr. Raharinaivo was arrested on 15 September 2009 after having, the same day, been summoned by the gendarmerie for questioning; He was taken to the competent prosecutor, who issued a committal order for him, after which he was transferred to the Central Prison of Antanimora; several accusations have reportedly been brought against him, but only one is known, namely incitement to “take to the streets”; the source affirms that his arrest is politically motivated and linked to his affiliation to the political movement of President Ravalomanana,
Considering the information on file regarding Ms. Eliane Naika:
  • On 12 September 2009 at around 11 a.m., Senator Naika was arrested by a group of heavily armed military under the command of Major Charles Randrianasoavina of the Special Intervention Forces (FIS) when she was at an Antananarivo hotel where parliamentarians not from the capital usually stay; in a drunken state, the military burst into the hotel, broke open the doors of the rooms and ransacked them, taking anything they fancied; on reaching the room of Ms. Naika, they beat her up and took her away, without any arrest warrant, to the gendarmerie of Betongolo, where she was questioned; the prosecutor issued a committal order and she was taken to Manjakandriana prison;

  • Senator Naika is accused, inter alia, of organizing or attending an illegal gathering, causing damage to public property, aggression (battery), assault on police and rebellion; although she was not arrested in flagrante delicto, the flagrante delicto procedure was reportedly applied to her;

  • On 18 September 2009, the Anosy court granted her provisional release and her trial was scheduled for 13 October 2009; however, she left the country on 20 September 2009,
Considering that arrest warrants have been issued for 18 other members of parliament who have gone into hiding,

Bearing mind that the Malagasy Constitution contains numerous provisions guaranteeing fundamental rights and that Madagascar is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enshrining those rights, and as such is bound to uphold them by virtue of its international obligations,

  1. Thanks the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Madagascar to the United Nations Office and other international organizations at Geneva for his cooperation; 

  2. Expresses deep concern at the arrest of the six parliamentarians which, given the circumstance, it can only consider to be arbitrary and unlawful, if for no other reason than that the regime itself has no basis in law and the arresting officers no authority to carry out arrests; considers that the manner in which these arrests were carried out show that the army was intent on causing maximum mental suffering and instilling fear and humiliation; is alarmed at the brutal force used in Ms. Naika's arrest and urges the de facto authorities to hold to account the perpetrators, whose identity is known;

  3. Notes that Mr. Rabenatoandro, Mr. Randrianjatovo, Mr. Rakotomandimby and Mr. Rakotozandry were arrested, according to the authorities, above all in order “to bring a halt to the physical clashes between the two rival camps”; consequently concludes that the accusations against them concern potential crimes and that neither the accusations nor the judicial proceedings against them are based on law or facts, but rather spring from political considerations; observes, moreover, that the humiliating circumstances of the arrests are evidence that they were political and arbitrary in nature; 

  4. Urges the de facto authorities to release Mr. Raharinaivo forthwith, as they have so pledged by signing the Maputo Agreement;

  5. Is alarmed that arrest warrants are pending against 18 parliamentarians and stresses that their arrest would be in violation of the Maputo Agreement and calls therefore on the de facto authorities to respect their commitments under that agreement and hence to cancel the warrants;

  6. Stresses that their suspension from parliament does not deprive the persons concerned of their status as parliamentarians and, most importantly, does not deprive them of the fundamental rights to which they are entitled under the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Madagascar is a party, such as freedom of expression and assembly, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention and freedom from torture and ill-treatment;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to contact the Joint Mediation Support Team for Madagascar and organizations involved in the dialogue process with a view to ensuring respect for the fundamental rights of the parliamentarians concerned;

  8. Requests the Committee to examine the possibility of carrying out a mission to Madagascar, to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 122nd IPU Assembly (March-April 2010).
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