Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture : Uzbekistan. 11/19/1999.
A/55/44,paras.76-81. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Twenty-third session
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


Uzbekistan


76. The Committee considered the initial report of Uzbekistan (CAT/C/32/Add.3) at its 405th, 408th and 409th meetings on 17, 18 and 19 November 1999 (CAT/C/SR.405, 408 and 409), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.

1. Introduction

77. The Committee notes with satisfaction the excellent quality of the State party's initial report, which is in conformity with the guidelines, together with its frankness and exhaustiveness, while observing that it was submitted three years late. The Committee also notes with satisfaction the oral introduction of the report made by the head of the delegation. It especially welcomes the readiness of the delegation to enter into a dialogue with the Committee.

2. Positive aspects

78. The Committee has identified several positive aspects, in particular:

(a) The fact that under Uzbek law torture is a separate offence that carries severe penalties;

(b) The popularization and training measures in the field of human rights aimed at law-enforcement personnel;

(c) The adoption of a legal provision (article 15 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and a Supreme Court plenary court decision making evidence obtained by torture inadmissible;

(d) The large number of investigations carried out following allegations of torture or ill treatment inflicted on citizens by law-enforcement personnel, which proves the existence of an effective system for handling complaints;

(e) The many important projects for the reform of the principal codes and the judicial system announced by the delegation.

3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions of the Convention

79. The Committee is aware of the difficulties inherent in any process of transition from a totalitarian regime to the rule of law.

4. Subjects of concern

80. Nevertheless, the Committee notes the following subjects of concern:

(a) The incompleteness of the definition of torture, which leaves unpunished certain aspects of torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention, and, in particular, the impossibility of prosecuting, under existing Uzbek law, an individual guilty of torture at the instigation of a law-enforcement officer and, moreover, the failure to make an attempt to commit torture an offence;

(b) The particularly large number of complaints of torture or maltreatment and the small number of subsequent convictions;

(c) The establishment of a regime of criminal liability applicable to law-enforcement officials (policemen, procurators, judges, etc.) who wrongly prosecute or convict, which could tend to undermine the judiciary or weaken the will to prosecute and punish;

(d) The failure actually to apply the Supreme Court's plenary court decision excluding evidence obtained by torture. In this context, the Committee notes that, in practice, criminal prosecutions in Uzbekistan do not seem to respect the principle of the presumption of innocence and have an inquisitorial character incompatible with article 11 of the Convention;

(e) The lack of a formal prohibition of the expulsion, return or extradition of a person to another State where he runs the risk of being subjected to torture, in accordance with article 3 of the Convention.

5. Recommendations

81. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Adopt a definition of torture strictly in conformity with article 1 of the Convention, by applying article 4;

(b) Review the system for handling complaints of torture or ill treatment, so as to minimize the risk of offences going unpunished;

(c) Revise the judiciary regulations to bring them into conformity with the relevant international legal instruments, in particular (i) the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, adopted in 1985, and (ii) the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, adopted in 1990;

(d) Ensure, in practice, absolute respect for the principle of the inadmissibility of evidence obtained by torture;

(e) Formally prohibit the expulsion, return or extradition of persons to a State where they would be in danger of being subjected to torture;

(f) Make the declarations under Articles 21 and 22 of the Convention;

(g) Report to the Committee, in the next report, to be submitted in October 2000, on the missing or incomplete replies to the questions concerning, in particular, the number of persons detained and the number of persons executed after being sentenced to death during the past two years.


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