ICJ calls for the thorough investigation of the killing of Gilles Cistac in Mozambique

by | Mar 5, 2015 | News

The ICJ calls for the prompt and thorough investigation into the killing of Gilles Cistac, a prominent academic and human rights defender.

Gilles Cistac served as a Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique.

His death, at the hands as of yet un-indentified gunmen in Maputo, Mozambique, on Tuesday 3 March 2015, follows his involvement in the debates on the sensitive issues of decentralization of power and establishment of autonomous provinces in Mozambique.

It is also reported that he was the subject of recent attacks on social media by a person who used a pseudonym and called Gilles Cistac a spy and a traitor, and accused him, along with others, of subverting the country.

“Demonstrating its commitment to the rule of law and respect for human rights, which were central to Gilles Cistac’s work, the government must fulfill its obligation to investigate the killing of Professor Cistac, promptly and effectively, and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice in fair proceedings,” said Arnold Tsunga the Africa Director of the ICJ.

These obligations arise as part of the government’s duty to protect the right to life including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, international human rights treaties to which Mozambique is a party.

The government must also take steps to ensure protection of those, including human rights defenders, who exercise their right to freedom of expression.

Arnold Tsunga also called on the authorities in Mozambique to heed the message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Human rights defenders are not violent seditionists, criminals, nor bloody revolutionaries, as so many governments like to portray them. They are the best of us, all of us. And they have a message. (…) Understand the message, talk to them about it, be persuaded or persuade, without violence, instead of silencing them, punishing them, their families, and their communities.”

The ICJ will continue to monitor is the investigation of this deadly attack as part work to promote enhanced respect for human rights and in defence of human rights defenders.


Arnold Tsunga, t +27 716 405 926 ; e arnold.tsunga(a)icj.org

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