Belarus does not satisfy UN Committee against Torture
In its Concluding Observations, the Committee against Torture makes a first harsh observation of the dialogue: Belarus’ delayed report prevented the experts for almost a decade from analysing the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Monday, 28 November 2011, by Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
The NGO-coalition timely submitted a comprehensive reply to the list of issues rose by the United Nations Committee against Torture. Prior the 2-days formal revision of Belarus, the Committee acquainted itself with the last developments registered by human rights defenders during a private formal briefing and competently used the information to enquire the State about sensitive and complex concerns, such as the fundamental legal safeguards, torture of detainees, impunity, independence of the judiciary, conditions of detention, threats to human rights defenders and death penalty.
Amongst others principal subjects of concern, the Committee publicly expresses in its Concluding Observations to be deeply concerned about the persistent and prevailing pattern of failure of officials to conduct prompts, impartial and full investigations into the many allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to prosecute alleged perpetrators. Furthermore, the Committee against Torture urges the State to take effective measures to ensure the independence of the judiciary by reviewing damaging provisions -such as those referring to discipline, appointment and removal of judges. What is more, in order to guarantee an independent monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty, the Committee demands Belarus to grant access to independent NGOs to all detention facilities in the country and to consider accepting the request by the High Commissioner for Human Rights for a visit by an OHCHR team.
Definition of torture and conditions of detention
In addition, the Committee pushes for Belarus to define and criminalize torture in its Criminal Code in full conformity with article 1 and 4 of the Convention, without delay. With regards to the subject of evidence obtained through torture, it requires the State party to ensure that judges ask all detainees whether or not they were tortures or ill-treated in custody. Belarus will also have to submit information on whether any officials have been prosecuted and punished for extracting confessions under torture. The State party is also reminded to intensify its efforts to bring the conditions of detentions into line with the Standard Minimum Rules.