Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture : Paraguay. 05/10/2000.
A/55/44,paras.146-151. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
24th Session
1-19 May 2000



CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture



Paraguay



146. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Paraguay (CAT/C/49/Add.1) at its 418th, 421st and 425th meetings, held on 5, 8 and 10 May 2000 (CAT/C/SR.418, 421 and 425) and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.

1. Introduction

147. The third periodic report of Paraguay, submitted within the time-limit provided for in article 19 of the Convention, was not in conformity with the general guidelines regarding form and contents adopted by the Committee at its twentieth session.

148. During the introduction of the report and in response to the comments and views of the members of the Committee, the representatives of Paraguay provided comprehensive information which partially made up for the report's shortcomings.

2. Positive aspects

149. The Committee notes with satisfaction:

(a) The entry into force of the new Penal Code and the gradual application of the changes introduced by the new Code of Criminal Procedure, whose enforcement should enable the State party better to fulfil its obligations under the Convention;

(b) The innovations introduced by the new Penal Code, including the extension of its application to the punishment of acts committed abroad against rights which are universally protected under an international treaty, a provision which is in keeping with article 5 of the Convention;

(c) The exclusion of the probative value of any statement which is contrary to procedural guarantees provided for in the Constitution and in international law, as required by the new Code of Criminal Procedure, thus giving national courts binding jurisdiction, in accordance with article 15 of the Convention;

(d) The imposition of appropriate sentences for human rights violations committed during the dictatorship overthrown in 1989;

(e) Programmes for the training of judges, prosecutors and police officers under the new criminal law system;

(f) The announcement by the representatives of Paraguay that a ratification bill will soon be submitted recognizing the competence referred to in articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.

3. Principal subjects of concern

150. The Committee is concerned at:

(a) The failure to establish the Office of the Ombudsman eight years after the entry into force of the 1992 Constitution, which provided for it, and more than four years after the promulgation of the Organization Act;
(b) The fact that in the legislation in force, torture is not defined as an offence in accordance with article 1 of the Convention; the offence provided for in the new Penal Code does not include basic elements of the offence described in the Convention;

(c) The information the Committee received from reliable sources that the practice of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment continues in police stations and in Armed Forces prisons and premises, where soldiers performing compulsory military service are subjected to frequent physical ill-treatment;

(d) The lack of programmes for redress and the rehabilitation of the physical and mental health of the victims of torture, as required by article 14 of the Convention. The Committee also did not receive information on any case in which a victim of torture obtained the right to redress.

4. Recommendations

151. The Committee recommends:

(a) The prompt appointment of the Ombudsman and the provision of sufficient resources to enable his Office to establish its presence throughout the national territory;

(b) The inclusion in the Penal Code of provisions defining torture as a crime in accordance with article 1 of the Convention;

(c) The legal recognition of the right of victims of torture to redress and fair and adequate compensation at the expense of the State.


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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
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