Gilles Cistac

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Gilles Cistac (November 11, 1961 − March 3, 2015) was a French-Mozambican lawyer specialised in constitutional law. He was shot and killed and political motives were suspected. The RENAMO party organised protests.


Gilles Cistac was born in 1961 in the French city of Toulouse. He studied public law in Toulouse and graduated there in 1998.[1]

Move to Mozambique[edit]

In 1993 Cistac came as an advisor to Mozambique working for the French embassy providing assistance to the Mozambican state in creating a new electoral law. After a short stay back in France, he moved to Mozambique in 1995. Since then he worked as a law professor at Eduardo Mondlane University. Until his death, he was the vice-chair of the investigation department of the law faculty of the university.[2] It was his efforts that led to the creation of the Centro de Estudos sobre a Integração Regional (CEDIR), a small investigation unit working on the harmonisation of the law in the SADC member states.[2]

In 2009, Cistac received the French order of merit Ordre des Palmes Académiques in the rank of a knight (Chevalier) for his work on decentralisation in Mozambique.[3] The "Ordre des Palmes Académiques" is the highest French order of merit in the science area. In 2010 Cistac acquired Mozambican citizenship in addition to his French citizenship.[4]

March honouring Gilles Cistac in Maputo on March 7, 2015. In front, Ivone Soares, leader of the RENAMO parliamentary group in the National Parliament.


In the morning of the March 3, 2015 Gilles Cistac wanted to enter a taxi in front of a café in the Polana neighbourhood, when a car passed by and Cistac was hit by three shots.[5] A few hours later, Cistac died in Maputo's central hospital. The main opposition party, RENAMO, as well as certain oppositional and international media houses blamed radical forces of the ruling FRELIMO party for Cistac's death, while the FRELIMO denied having any relation to this.[6] A few days later, several marches in several Mozambican cities honoured Cistac.[7] Embassies of different states, as of France, the European Union and the United States, condemned the homicide and demanded a fast and effective investigation of it.[8][9][10]

Cistac's homicide was seen as a further step in increasing Mozambique's political crisis since 2013.[11][12][13]

Public activities[edit]

Gilles Cistac was known as a sharp critic of the ruling FRELIMO party, he published his opinion in several oppositional media, despite the fact that he claimed to be independent and not affiliated to any political party. He criticised the constant violation of human rights in Mozambique, the appropriation of the state bureaucracy by the FRELIMO, the concentration of the state's executive power and the weak public prosecution.[14][15]

After the general elections in 2014 the main opposition party, RENAMO, protested heavily against the results. Especially, the RENAMO claimed to govern the provinces, in which the party won the majority of votes. At the moment, the central government nominates the governors of the provinces. RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama demanded the creation of so-called "Autonomous Provinces" and a subsequent constitutional devolution. The FRELIMO party, especially Mozambique's president Filipe Nyusi, denied these requests and called them "unconstitutional". Gilles Cistac contradicted Nyusi and said that, according to Mozambique's constitution, it was possible to create subaltern hierarchies. Cistac prepared a legislative proposal for the RENAMO, which is going to be discussed in the national Parliament.[16]

After publishing his opinion about the possibility of creating "Autonomous Provinces" several media close to the FRELIMO party criticised him for his opinions.[17][18] The spokesperson of the FRELIMO, Damião José, called Cistac a "liar" and being "dishonest", as well as blaming him not being thankful to the Mozambican people who accepted him "friendly".[19]


Gilles Cistac published more than 50 works about Mozambican law.

  • O direito eleitoral moçambicano – Le droit électoral mozambicain (1994)
  • O tribunal administrativo de Moçambique (1997)
  • Aspectos jurídicos, económicos e sociais do uso e aproveitamento da terra (2003)
  • Turismo e desenvolvimento local (2007)
  • 10 anos de descentralização em Moçambique : os caminhos sinuosos de um processo emergente (2008)
  • Direito processual administrativo contencioso teoria e prática (2010)
  • Manual Prático de Jurisprudência Eleitoral (2011), ISBN 978-9896700263
  • Aspectos jurídicos da integração regional (2012), ISBN 978-9896700317


  1. ^ Daniel Hourquebie (2015-03-05). "Gilles Cistac, «un homme de dialogue qui aimait la vie»". La Depêche (in French). Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  2. ^ a b "UEM exalta feitos do Professor Gilles Cistac em velório" (in Portuguese). Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  3. ^ "Professeur Gilles Cistac Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques" (in French). Ambassade de France au Maputo. 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  4. ^ Elodie Lanfroy (2015-03-05). "Mozambique : l'avocat toulousain Gilles Cistac tué par balles en pleine rue". La Depêche (in French). Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  5. ^ Adrien Barbier (2015-03-03). "". Le Monde Afrique (in French). Retrieved 2015-03-14. External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ Nelson Carvalho (2015-03-04). "Afonso Dhlakama promete vingar assassinato de Gilles Cistac" (in Portuguese). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  7. ^ Guilherme Correia da Silva (2015-03-06). "Moçambicanos de luto pela morte de Gilles Cistac" (in Portuguese). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  8. ^ "Local statement following the assassination of Professor Gilles Cistac in Maputo on 3 March 2015 (03/03/2015)". Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mozambique. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  9. ^ "Déclarations du porte-parole : Assassinat de M. Gilles Cistac (3 mars 2015)" (in French). Ambassade de France au Maputo. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  10. ^ "Declaração à Imprensa: Assassinato Gilles Cistac" (in Portuguese). U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique. 2015-03-03. Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  11. ^ "Murder of prominent lawyer presents double threat to Mozambique's new president". 2015-03-11. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  12. ^ Norman Taku (2015-03-03). "Press release: Centre calls for immediate and independent investigation into the tragic assassination and untimely death of Prof Gilles Cistac, esteemed human rights educator and activist". Centre for Human Rights / University of Pretoria. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  13. ^ Thornycroft, Peta (2015-03-06). "Prominent Mozambique rights lawyer gunned down in Maputo". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  14. ^ Raul Senda (2011-09-20). "Sobre os poderes na ditosa Pátria amada". The Delagoa Bay Review (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  15. ^ "Gilles Cistac: "Projecto da Frelimo é pouco substancial"". O País (in Portuguese). 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  16. ^ Emildo Sambo (2015-01-30). "Gilles Cistac prevê gestão autónoma das províncias onde a Renamo reclama vitória". A Verdade (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  17. ^ Télio Chamuço (2015-02-05). "Os equívocos do Prof. Gilles Cistac". Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  18. ^ Paul Fauvet (2015-02-18). "Dhlakama tenta explicar "províncias autónomas"" (in Portuguese). Rádio Moçambique. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  19. ^ "AINDA OS PRONUNCIAMENTOS DE CISTAC: Porta-voz da Frelimo deplora". Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2015-03-14.