79. The Committee examined the initial report of Hungary in 1989 and its second periodic report in 1993. The third periodic report of Hungary complies with the relevant guidelines but whereas it was due in 1996, it was submitted in April 1997. Hungary has recognized the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications, under both articles 21 (1) and 22 of the Convention. It has also adhered to the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
2. Positive aspects
80. The Committee notes with satisfaction that Hungary earlier this year withdrew its reservation on geographical limitation to the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, that previously excluded nonEuropean asylum seekers. The Committee also notes with satisfaction, inter alia, the new legislation on asylum; Act LIX 1997 on Criminal Punishment System; the Ombudsman mechanism and Hungary’s compliance with the previous recommendations of the Committee.
3. Subjects of concern
81. The Committee is concerned with the provisions of article 123 of the Criminal Code of Hungary that makes torture punishable only if the soldier or policeman committing the act was aware that by so doing he or she was committing a criminal offence. The Committee is also concerned about the persistent reports that an inordinately high proportion of detainees is roughly handled or treated cruelly before, during and after interrogation by the police and that a disproportionate number of detainees and/or prisoners serving their sentence are Roma.
82. The Committee is disturbed by information to the effect that a number of complaints of torture or treatment contrary to article 16 of the Convention do not result in the initiation of investigations by prosecutors.
83. The Committee is concerned about reports on conditions in prisons, detention centres and holding centres for refugees such as, inter alia, overcrowding, lack of exercise, education and hygiene.
4. Conclusions and recommendations
84. The Committee recommends that all necessary measures, including, in particular, prompt access to defence counsel assistance soon after arrest, and improved training, be taken to prevent and eradicate torture and all acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
85. The Committee requests that Hungary should include in its next periodic report all relevant statistics, data and information on:
(a) The number of complaints about illtreatment; the proportion they represent in relation to the total number of cases investigated and, in particular, the proportion of Roma complaints, detainees and prisoners;
(b) The number and proportion of cases discontinued by prosecutors, i.e. cases of torture or violations of article 16, the reasons, if any, for such discontinuance and the measures taken to ensure the complete impartiality and effectiveness of the investigation of the aforesaid complaints or accusations;
(c) Complaints against military personnel for alleged torture of civilians and the justification for military prosecutors handling such cases.
86. The Committee further urges the State party to take all appropriate action necessary to bring the Hungarian translation of article 3 (1) of the Convention in line with the authentic text of the aforesaid article.
87. The Committee urges the State party to reexamine article 123 of the Criminal Code and to effect the necessary amendments thereto in order to ensure its consonance with the terms and purposes of the Convention.