government: semi presidential republic
state of civil and political rights: Partly free
constitution: adopted on October 31, 2010
legal system: based on French and customary law
legislative system: unicameral, National Assembly
judicial system: Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges); High Court of Justice (consists of 7 members) State Court and Court of Appeal
religion: Muslim 80%, other (includes indigenous beliefs and Christian) 20%
death row: 11 (end 2017)
year of last executions: 0-0-1976
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
In Niger, the death penalty is imposed only for the most serious crimes such as planned or premeditated murder, murder committed in furtherance of another offence, parricide or poisoning, torture, aggravated theft, treason and offences against the State. Niger has not imposed the death penalty since 1976.
Following over 40 years of independence, gained in 1960, Niger’s National Assembly adopted a new criminal code in May 2003. The new code introduced punishments of death for infringement of international humanitarian laws such as crimes against humanity, slavery, summary executions, deportation and torture.
The death penalty is also provided for in the code of military justice adopted in December 2002, which established a military court to deal with crimes of military nature.
Those condemned to death can appeal to the Supreme Court. The President of the Republic may grant a pardon.
In October 2014, the Nigerien government approved a bill authorizing accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The bill was sent to the National Assembly for adoption.
On 20-21 November 2014, a delegation of Hands Off Cain and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty visited Niger on an advocacy mission to urge the country to change its position on the UN Resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The delegation met with first vice-president of the National Assembly Daouda Marthé, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and Minister of Justice and Government spokesperson Amadou Marou, who announced that Niger would have passed from a vote of abstention to a vote in favour of the pro-moratorium UN Resolution. "The reasons for abolishing the death penalty are much more relevant than those to keep it," said Minister Marou, who added that "our agenda is the same as yours on both the respect for human rights and repeal of the death penalty. The President is personally committed to these goals."
On 22 April 2015, on proposal of Minister of Justice Marou Amadou, the President of the Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, issued a new clemency measure, to mark the fourth anniversary of his investiture. According to the presidential decree, all convicts sentenced to death had their terms commuted to life in prison, while prisoners sentenced to life in prison had their sentences reduced to 30 years’ imprisonment.
In Niger, the last executions were carried out on 21 April 1976, when seven military personnel and civilians – Bayéré Moussa, Sidi Mohamed, Armayaou Ibrah, Aboubacar Guy Tirolyen, Ahmed Mouddour, Idrissa Boubé and Issaka Dan Koussou – were executed by firing squad for their participation in the attempted coup d’état of March 1976. Two other people were sentenced to death in absentia by the State Security Court, but they were subsequently pardoned.
In 2016, 11 new death sentnces were issued meanwhil the last known death sentence was issued in 2008 (probably in absentia), but was overturned in December 2010. At least five death sentences were issued in 2005, and at least one in 2003.
On 18 January 2016, Niger was reviewed under the UPR of the UN Human Rights Council. In its response to the recommendations received, the Government accepted to complete the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR as early as possible, and take all necessary legislative measures to confirm the abolition of the death penalty, including in its domestic legislation.
On 18 December 2016, Niger abstaind on the Resolution meanwhile in 2014, for the first time, Niger voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly. Previously it had always abstained on the Resolution.