Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
8-19 November 1999
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
46. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Austria (CAT/C/17/Add.21) at its 395th, 398th and 400th meetings on 10, 11 and 12 November 1999 (CAT/C/SR.395, 398 and 400), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
47. The Committee welcomes the dialogue with the representatives of Austria. Nevertheless, it regrets that the report, due in August 1992, was only submitted in October 1998 and that it was not in conformity with the Committee's guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports.
2. Positive aspects
48. The Committee notes with satisfaction the following:
(a) The Security Police Act of 1993;
(b) The Guidelines for the Intervention of Organs of Public Security;
(c) The fact that the Federal Government is required to submit an annual security report to the Austrian Parliament;
(d) The establishment of an inspection system in accordance with the provisions of article 11 of the Convention;
(e) The Code of Criminal Procedure Modification Act 1993 and the Basic Rights Complaint Act 1992.
3. Subjects of concern
49. The Committee is concerned about the following:
(a) In spite of the fact that the Convention has the status of law in the Austrian legal system and is directly enforceable, a definition of torture as provided in article 1 of the Convention is not included in the penal legislation of the State party and, therefore the offence of torture does not appear as punishable by appropriate penalties as required by article 4, paragraph 2 of the Convention;
(b) Notwithstanding the entry into force of the Security Police Act 1993, allegations of ill-treatment by the police are still reported;
(c) Potential complaints of abuse committed by police authorities may be discouraged by the provisions enabling the police to accuse of defamation a person who lodges a complaint against them;
(d) Insufficient measures of protection of individuals under a deportation order, which are not in conformity with the provisions of articles 3 and 11 of the Convention, particularly as instanced by a reported case of death during the deportation procedure.
50. The Committee recommends that:
(a) Austria establish adequate penal provisions to make torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention a punishable offence in accordance with article 4, paragraph 2 of the Convention;
(b) Clear instructions be given to the police by the competent authorities to avoid any incidence of ill-treatment by police agents. Such instructions should emphasize that ill-treatment by law enforcement officials shall not be tolerated and shall be promptly investigated and punished in cases of violation, in accordance with the law;
(c) Provisions concerning the protection of asylum seekers should fully conform with the relevant international standards, in particular, articles 3 and 11 of the Convention, both in law and practice;
(d) The third periodic report of Austria, which was due in August 1996, be prepared in accordance with the Committee's guidelines and be submitted by December 2000.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights