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
56. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Peru (CAT/C/39/Add.1) at its 399th, 402nd and 404th meetings on 12, 15 and 16 November 1999 (CAT/C/SR.399, 402 and 404), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
57. The Committee welcomes the submission of the third periodic report of Peru, which corresponds generally with the Committee's guidelines concerning the form and content of reports, as well as the continuing dialogue with experienced representatives of the State party, including the introductory oral information given by the delegation.
2. Positive aspects
58. The Committee notes as positive the following:
(a) The inclusion of the crime of torture, in broad conformity with the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention, in the Penal Code;
(b) The policy of placing the crime of aggravated treason within the jurisdiction of the civil courts;
(c) The comprehensive programme of education undertaken in all branches of the civil and armed forces to raise awareness of human rights obligations, in particular the prohibition against torture;
(d) The gradual lifting of the state of emergency laws in most of the country and the declared intention to lift them completely in the year 2000;
(e) The establishment of the office of the Ombudsman;
(f) The creation of a national registry of detainees and persons sentenced to a custodial penalty (Law No. 26295) which is publicly accessible;
(g) The creation of the Ad Hoc National Commission on Pardon;
(h) The reduction in recent years of complaints of maltreatment by persons in custody.
3. Subjects of concern
59. The Committee expresses concern about the following:
(a) The continuing numerous allegations of torture;
(b) The lack of "independence" of those members of the judiciary who have no security of tenure;
(c) The period of incommunicado pre-trial detention of 15 days for persons suspected of acts of terrorism;
(d) The use of military courts to try civilians;
(e) The automatic penalty of at least one year of solitary confinement from the date of trial for anyone convicted of a terrorism offence;
(f) The apparent lack of effective investigation and prosecution of those who are accused of having committed acts of torture;
(g) The use of, in particular, the amnesty laws which preclude prosecution of alleged torturers who must, according to articles 4, 5 and 12 of the Convention, be investigated and prosecuted where appropriate;
(h) The maintenance in some parts of the country of emergency laws which abrogate ordinary human rights protection;
(i) The special prison regime applicable to convicted terrorists and in particular to convicted terrorist leaders;
(j) The failure of the Attorney General's Office to keep a precise register of persons who claim that they have been tortured.
60. The Committee against Torture reiterates the recommendations it made at the end of its consideration of the second periodic report of Peru on 12 May 1998, which are as follows;
"While noting and welcoming the new measures that have been taken or announced, including some which are in the spirit of the recommendations made during the consideration of Peru's initial report, the Committee reiterates those recommendations and calls upon the State party to expedite reforms designed to establish a State genuinely founded upon the rule of law.
"The State party should consider repealing laws which may undermine the independence of the judiciary, and take account of the fact that, in this area, the competent authority with regard to the selection and careers of judges should be independent of the Government and the administration. To guarantee such independence, measures should be taken to ensure, for example, that the members of that authority are appointed by the judiciary and that the authority itself decides on its rules of procedure.
"The State party should consider, pursuant to articles 6, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Convention, taking measures to ensure that victims of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their legal successors, receive redress, compensation and rehabilitation in all circumstances."
61. In addition, the Committee recommends that:
(a) The State party should ensure vigorous investigation and, where appropriate, the prosecution of all reported instances of alleged torture and ill-treatment by its authorities, whether civil or military;
(b) The period of pre-trial incommunicado detention should be abolished;
automatic period of solitary confinement for persons convicted of terrorist offences should be abolished;
(d) Amnesty laws should exclude torture from their reach;
(e) The special regime that applies to convicted terrorists should be reviewed with a view to the gradual abolition of the virtual isolation and other restrictions that are inconsistent with the provisions of article 16 and may in certain cases amount to torture as defined in Article 1 of the Convention;
(f) A similar national registry to that pertaining to detainees should be established for persons claiming to be victims of torture.
62. The Committee once again emphasizes that the State party should return jurisdiction from military courts to civil courts in all matters concerning civilians.
63. Finally, the Committee calls upon the State party to consider making the declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights