Omar Drif  

Date of arrest: 1995-06-09

Forces responsible: Gendarmerie


Omar Drif, who had a carpentry shop in Kolea, wilaya of Tipaza, and lived in Berbessa, was arrested on June 9, 1995, on his way home. Omar Drif and four of his friends were stopped by armed gendarmes in uniform travelling in official vehicles. They told Drif that they had been ordered to arrest him and bring him to the gendarmerie station. His family has not seen him since. According to Drif’s friends, the chief of the gendarmerie brigade and a member of the communal guard participated in his arrest.

In 1996, Omar Drif’s family heard a rumour that he was in a camp located in the south of the country. However, in 2011, they received information that Omar was still at the gendarmerie station in Berbessa.

Steps taken

June 9, 1994: Omar Drif’s mother and sister go to the gendarmerie station in Berbessa to inquire about his arrest and are told that he is detained there and that he will be released shortly following an investigation.

November 17, 1996: His father is summoned by the Tipaza’s criminal investigation service.

August 28 – August 31, 1997: His mother writes two letters to the Ombudsman of the Republic (Médiateur de la République).

October 15, 1997: The Ombudsman acknowledges receipt of his mother’s letters and informs her that her son’s file has been transmitted to the competent authority.

1998: Her family write several letters to the Ministry of Justice, which led to Drif’s mother being summoned by the Ministry of Justice and the wilaya office.

March 4, 1999: His mother is summoned to appear before the military court of Blida on April 19, 1999.

August 30, 1999: His mother sends a letter to the President of the Republic.

December 13, 1999: His mother and the parents of several other disappeared persons write a joint letter to the President.

April 13, 2003: His father appeals to the Minister of Justice, the Head of Government, the President and the National Advisory Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

September 13, 2004: His father lodges a complaint with the investigating judge at the court of Kolea against the two of the officers who arrested Omar Drif.

August 27, 2006: His mother sends letters to the Minister of Justice, the Head of Government, the President, the National Advisory Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Minister of Interior. His mother also writes to the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea.

December 27, 2006: His parents receive a reply from the Office of the President, inviting them to initiate a procedure to obtain compensation under Ordinance No. 06.01 of 27 February, 2006. They refused to file an application for compensation, which would imply an acknowledgement of their son’s death.

February 21, 2007: His mother reiterates her request to the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea.

March 13, 2007: His parents appeal to the Head of Government and the President of the Republic.

May 11, 2009: His parents send another letter to the President, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior and file another complaint with the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea.

June 25, 2009: The case of Omar Drif is submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).

June 12, 2011: His mother lodges a complaint with the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea requesting the opening of an investigation.

January 20, 2017: Having exhausted all domestic remedies, Omar Drif’s parents seize the UN Human Rights Committee.

Decision of the Human Rights Committee

Communication number: 3320/2019
Date adopted: 2022-03-04
Source/Author: Salah Drif and Khoukha Rafraf, represented counsel, Nassera Dutour, the Collectif des familles de disparu(e)s en Algérie
Violations found:

Right to an effective remedy (including in relation to the authors); cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (including in relation to the authors); liberty and security of person; human dignity; recognition as a person before the law.


The State party must provide the author with an effective remedy. It requires that States parties make full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. In the present case, the State party is in particular obliged to: (a) to conduct a prompt, effective, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the disappearance of Omar Drif and provide the authors with detailed information about the results of its investigation; (b) to release Omar Drif immediately if he is still being held incommunicado; (c) in the event that Omar Drif is deceased, to hand over his remains to his family in a dignified manner, in accordance with the cultural norms and customs of the victims; (d) to prosecute, try and punish those responsible for the violations in a way that is commensurate with the gravity of the violations; and (e) to provide the authors and Omar Drif, if he is alive, with adequate compensation and access to any medical and psychological treatment they may need. In addition, the State party is under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations in the future and to ensure that it does not impede enjoyment of the right to an effective remedy for such serious violations as torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance. To that end, the Committee is of the view that the State party should review its legislation in accordance with its obligation under article 2 (2) of the Covenant and, in particular, repeal the provisions of Ordinance No. 06-01 that are incompatible with the Covenant to ensure that the rights enshrined in the Covenant can be enjoyed fully in the State party.

Implemented by the Algerian authorities?: No