The civil harmony act

THE CIVIL HARMONY ACT

An English translation of the controversial Civil Harmony Act (“Loi de la Concorde civile”) in its entirety.

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13.07.99

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1 – The Act of Civil Concord is part of the grand design of restoring peace and harmony to society. The act makes provision for a specific legal framework within which all persons who participate in, or have participated in, acts of terrorism or subversion, and who clearly express their desire to cease all criminal activity, are given the opportunity of acting upon their intentions and regaining a place within society.

In order to benefit from the terms of the Act of Civil Concord, those persons to whom the section above refers should inform the competent authorities that they have ceased all terrorist activity and report in person to the said authorities.

Article 2 – Persons to whom Article 1 refers may, under the terms of the present act, benefit from one of the following measures:

– exemption from prosecution;

– a probation order;

– mitigated sentencing.

CHAPTER II

EXEMPTION FROM PROSECUTION

Article 3 – Proceedings will not be instituted against any person who has belonged, inside or outside the Republic of Algeria, to one or more of the organisations covered by Article 87a, Section 3, of the Criminal Code, who has not committed or otherwise taken part in acts causing the death or lifelong invalidity of other persons, who has not committed or otherwise taken part in acts of rape, and who has not endangered life by means of explosive devices in public places, or places frequented by the public, and who, within a period of six (6) months from the enactment of the present law, informs the competent authorities that he, or she, has ceased all terrorist or subversive activity, and reports in person, of his or her own volition, to the said authorities.

Article 4 – Proceedings will not be brought against any person who meets the conditions stipulated in Article 3 above, who has possessed firearms, explosives, or other destructive devices, and who surrenders them, of his or her own volition, to the competent authorities.

Article 5 – Notwithstanding any provision of law which may be contrary to the present act, any person who meets the conditions stipulated in Articles 3 and 4 will, in all cases, be deprived of the rights granted to them under the terms of Article 8 of the Criminal Code for a duration of ten (10) years from the date of the decision to waive prosecution proceedings.

CHAPTER III

PROBATION ORDERS

Article 6 – Probation entails the suspension of prosecution proceedings for a period of time of sufficient length to ascertain that the probationer genuinely desires to make amends.

Article 7 – Probation orders, the duration and conditions of which are specified below, may be served upon any person who has belonged to one or more of the organisations covered in Article 87a, Section 3, of the Criminal Code and who, within the six (6) months from the promulgation of the present act, informs the competent authorities that he, or she, has ceased all terrorist or subversive activity and reports in person, of his or her own volition, to the said authorities.

Probation will be denied to any person who has committed or participated in acts causing death, participated in mass killings, committed or participated in rape, or attempted to endanger life in public places, or places frequented by the public, by means of explosive devices.

Article 8 – Notwithstanding the terms of Article 7 above, probation orders will be served to persons who have belonged to any of the organisations covered by Article 87a, Section 3 of the Criminal Code, who have neither participated in mass killings, nor handled explosive devices in public places, or places frequented by the public, and who, collectively and of their own volition, inform the competent authorities that they have ceased all terrorist or subversive activity and, on reporting to the said authorities, are permitted to participate, under the authority of the State, in the fight against terrorism.

Any person who has belonged to one or more of the organisations covered by the section above is required to make a signed, bona fide declaration of the firearms, ammunition or destructive devices in his, or her, possession and to surrender them to the authorities to which he, or she, reports.

The declarant should also state, in the said declaration, any acts which he, or she, has committed, or in which he, or she, has taken part.

The provisions governing application of the present article will be determined, as appropriate, by statute.

Article 9 – Extinguishment of probation, granted under the terms of Article 8 of the present act, causes public proceedings to be instituted, in accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of the present act.

Article 10 – Should any facts, ascertained not to have been declared by one or more probationers, come to light during the period of suspension of prosecution proceedings, the said suspension of proceedings is revoked and ordinary criminal proceedings are instituted.

Article 11 – Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, the decision to serve a probation order deprives, as of right, the probationer of all rights granted to him, or to her, under the terms of Article 8, Section 20 of the Criminal Code.

The probation commission, described in Article 14 of the present act, can supplement its probation order with one or more of the measures contained in the provisions of Articles 8 and 9 of the Criminal Code and in Article 125a, Section 1, of the Penal Procedure Code.

The probation committee may, during a period of probation, considering the behaviour of the probationer, decide to waive some or all of the measures it has ordered.

The measures ordered by the probation committee are both effected and revoked in accordance with procedures stipulated under the terms of the present act.

Probation orders, and its attendant measures, are subject to the opinion advanced by the probation committee, entered in the police record of the probationer. They are not entered in Section 3 of the police record.

Entries in a police record relative to a probation order and its attendant measures are removed on extinguishment of probation.

Article 12 – A probation order is served for a period of time of not less than three (3) years and not exceeding ten (10) years.

Article 13 – Notwithstanding other provisions of the present act, individuals qualifying for probation and admitted to the service of the State in its fight against terrorism and subversion serve a period of probation not exceeding five (5) years and are not subsequently subject to the measures for which Article 8 (Section 1) of the Criminal Code makes provision.

Article 14 – Within the territorial jurisdiction of each wilaya (district) a probation committee may be appointed and empowered to:

– serve probation orders;

– stipulate any additional measures;

– ascertain and pronounce the revocation of probation;

– propose to the competent authorities any attendant measures to be added to the probation order;

– ascertain and formally certify the extinguishment of a probation;

– appoint a delegated probation officer.

Article 15 – A probation committee comprises:

– the public prosecutor who has territorial competence and who presides the committee;

– a representative of the Ministry of Defence;

– a representative of the Ministry of the Interior;

– the gendarmerie commander of the wilaya;

– the chief security officer of the wilaya;

– the president of the wilaya Bar, or his empowered representative.

Article 16 – The provisions governing the procedure for submittal of a case to the probation committee will be determined, as appropriate, by statute.

At each stage in a probation procedure, the right of defence must be guaranteed and respected.

Article 17 – The due and proper execution of measures determined under the terms of a probation order are ensured by those police authorities specified in Article 15 (sections 20 to 70) of the Penal Procedure Code, under the authority of the public prosecutor.

The provisions governing application of the present article will be determined, as appropriate, by statute.

Article 18 – If a probationer fails to comply with any of the measures to which he, or she, is bound, the probation committee to which the case is submitted can revoke probation.

Criminal proceedings may then be brought for facts which justified the suspension of proceedings and, should they so warrant, for the facts which caused the revocation of probation.

Negative limitation commences as of the day on which the revocation of probation is pronounced.

Article 19 – Probation is revoked after the probationer has been required to provide the probation committee with all reasonable explanation of the facts leading to the revocation of probation.
The probationer may be assisted by the lawyer of his, or her, choice.

Article 20 – A person whose probation has been revoked is granted leave to appeal before a probation committee, extended to include the chief magistrate of the wilaya, within ten (10) days of the revocation being pronounced, or of the day on which he, or she, is apprised of the revocation.

Appeal suspends execution of the decision to revoke probation.

A decision to revoke probation may also make provision for all measures which guarantee that a probationer is legally represented during the period of appeal.

Article 21 – The extended probation committee rules on the appeal within ten (10) days of its being lodged.

Article 22 – A probation committee may decide to extinguish a probation period before its expiry when a probationer distinguishes himself, or herself, by exceptional acts in the service of his, or her, country, or has sufficiently demonstrated his, or her, intention to make amends.

Early lifting of probation may include conditions. However, no condition may apply for a period in excess of one year. When one year has elapsed, the probation order is definitively lifted.

Article 23 – A probation is, in all cases, extinguished on expiry of the period of time for which it was ordered.

Article 24 – The probation committee ascertains the extinguishment of a probation order on the basis of the report submitted by the delegated probation officer. The committee attests to the extinguishment of probation by means of a certificate signed by the president of the committee.

Article 25 – The extinguishment of probation terminates forthwith all further prosecution proceedings for the charges which justified the probation order, notwithstanding Articles 9 and 28 of the present act.

Article 26 – Public proceedings in respect of facts which come to light after extinguishment of a probation period are governed by the rules of negative limitation of ordinary law. Negative limitation commences on the day on which the extinction of the probation order is pronounced.

CHAPTER IV

MITIGATED SENTENCING

Article 27 – Persons who have belonged to the organisations covered by Article 87a, Section 3, of the Criminal Code, and who declare that they have ceased all terrorist or subversive activity and report to the competent authorities of their own volition within three months of the enactment of the present law, who are not granted probation, and who have neither participated in mass killings nor endangered life by means of explosive devices in public places, or places frequented by the public, may benefit from sentences which are mitigated as follows:

– a prison sentence not exceeding twelve (12) years, where the law provides for the death sentence or life imprisonment;

– a prison sentence not exceeding seven (7) years, where the law provides for a term of imprisonment of no less than ten (10) years and no more than twenty (20) years;

– a prison sentence not exceeding three (3) for years, where the law provides for a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) years.

In all other cases, the maximum prison sentence is halved.

Article 28 – Persons who have belonged to any of the organisations covered by Article 87a, Section 3, of the Criminal Code, and who have been granted probation, may benefit from sentences which are mitigated as follows:

– a prison sentence not exceeding eight (8) years, where the law provides for the death sentence or life imprisonment;

– a prison sentence not exceeding five (5) years, where the law provides for a term of imprisonment of no less than ten (10) years and no more than twenty (20) years;

– a prison term not exceeding two (2) years in all other cases.

Article 29 – In all other cases, persons who have belonged to any of the organisations covered by Article 87a, Section 3, of the Criminal Code, and who declare that they have ceased all terrorist or subversive activity, and report to the relevant authorities of their own volition within six months of the enactment of the present law, may benefit from sentences which are mitigated as follows:

– a prison sentence of between fifteen (15) and twenty (20) years, where the law provides for the death sentence;

– a prison sentence of between ten (10) and fifteen (15) years, where the law provides for life imprisonment.

In all other cases, the maximum prison sentence is halved.

CHAPTER V

PROCEDURE

Article 30 – Persons covered by Article 1 of the present act, may report of their own volition to the competent judicial or government authorities, whether civil or military, accompanied, should they so wish, by their tutor and/or advisor.

Article 31 – The public prosecutor before whom the case is immediately brought may forthwith assign the interested party, or parties, to temporary residence in such place, or places, as the law deems fit, and order all necessary investigation of the interested party.

Article 32 – The public prosecutor’s decision to assign a person, or persons, to temporary residence is executory, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

Article 33 – The public prosecutor submits the case to the probation committee at its earliest working meeting.

Article 34 – The probation committee’s decision is notified to those authorities and organs charged with its application and to the interested party. It is executory immediately.

Article 35 – The provisions governing application of the present chapter will be determined, as appropriate, by statute.

CHAPTER VI

SPECIAL PROVISIONS

Article 36 – Persons covered by Article 3 above, who were on remand, or serving a custodial sentence, or not serving their sentence at the time of the enactment of the present law, may benefit from the provisions of the present law.

Article 37 – Persons covered by Article 3 above, who were serving a custodial sentence at the time of the enactment of the present law, may benefit from immediate conditional release from the remainder of their sentence, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

Article 38 – Persons who, prior to the date of enactment of the present law, reported of their own volition to the competent authorities and advised them that they had ceased all terrorist or subversive activity, and who are serving custodial sentences, or not serving their sentence, may, if they meet the conditions of a probation order, benefit either from release or from a suspended sentence, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, and be granted probation.

During probation, the suspension of the execution of a sentence may be commuted to conditional release for a period not exceeding the remainder of the sentence and, in all cases, not exceeding the expiry of probation.

Article 39 – Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, beneficiaries of the provisions of Articles 36, 37 and 38 above are, in all cases, deprived of the rights granted to them under the terms of Article 8, Section 20, of the Criminal Code for a period of ten (10) years as of the date on which they acceded to the measures for which the present act makes provision.

Article 40 – In the event of public proceedings being instituted, victims of acts covered by the provisions of Article 87a of the Criminal Code, or their assignees, are entitled to bring a civil action and to seek reparation for injury incurred.

Any compensation payment which the courts may award in this case is, under the terms of the current legislation, deducted from any other indemnity awarded to the same party, or parties. Payment of compensation is effected by the State, which may bring an action against its debtor in order to retrieve the sums of money it has paid on his, or her, behalf.

Provisions governing application of the present article will be determined by statute.

Article 41 – The above-mentioned provisions are not, unless the need should so arise, applicable to persons who have belonged to organisations, and who have consciously, and of their own volition, decided to halt acts of violence and placed themselves entirely at the disposal of the State.

Article 42 – The provisions of decree 95-12 of 25th Ramadhan, 1415 (corresponding to 25th February, 1995), which stipulate measures of clemency, are repealed.

Article 43 – The present act will be published in the Journal officiel (official record) of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.