COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Initial reports of States parties due in 1994
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment was ratified by the Republic of Armenia
on 9 July 1993 and entered into force on 23 September 1993.
national report of the Republic of Armenia on the application of
the provisions of the Convention in Armenia was drawn up in the
light of information received from the Ministry of Justice, the
Ministry of the Interior and the Supreme Court in accordance with
the provisions of article 19, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
its independence, the Republic of Armenia has carried out far-reaching
legislative reforms aimed at providing legal guarantees concerning
respect for individual rights and fundamental freedoms. The new
Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, adopted on 5 July 1995
attaches considerable importance to human rights and fundamental
freedoms and explicitly prohibits the use of torture and other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The transitional period
has not yet ended: some legislative texts adopted in the time of
the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are still in force
in so far as they are compatible with the Declaration of Independence
and in cases in which they have not been superseded by the adoption
of new texts.
Armenian legal system does not recognize the practice of torture
or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as explicit offences.
However, the inadmissibility of such conduct is evident from the
provisions of the Penal Code. Several amendments have been made
to the criminal law. Some acts have been depenalized and measures
have been taken to ensure better protection for accused persons
and detainees. The new Penal Code that is being discussed by Parliament
is expected to bring about a profound change in the attitude of
judicial institutions towards accused persons and detainees.
ratified the Convention, the Republic of Armenia has an obligation
to incorporate the provisions of the Convention in its domestic
law. However, until they have been fully incorporated therein, the
rights and freedoms of individuals are protected by the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by Armenia
in April 1991. The Covenant takes precedence over national laws
and citizens of the Republic can invoke its provisions before the
courts and administrative bodies.
Republic of Armenia has ratified 15 of 25 international conventions
concerning human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights has already been applied directly by the Supreme
Court of the Republic.
courts and the Government Procurator are the authorities competent
to examine matters covered by the Convention. A similar obligation
is also borne by the police authorities responsible for the defence
and security of citizens and, in particular, by the Department of
Correctional Work at the Ministry of the Interior. Any citizens
who have been subjected to torture or other humiliating, inhuman
or degrading treatment have the right to lodge a complaint with
the hierarchically higher body, and also with the public prosecutor
and the courts.
the ratification of the Convention, the Supreme Court of the Republic
of Armenia adopted a decision concerning "judicial practice
in regard to the application of the legislation guaranteeing the
rights of defence of suspects and accused persons". In that
decision, the Court clarified various points concerning the rights
of defence that must be respected by the authorities responsible
for judicial investigations and also by the courts.
9. In the
time of the Soviet regime, there were cases of unjustified arrests
and assault and battery by the police. On 14 June 1994, the Parliament
of the Republic of Armenia adopted the "Act concerning Victims
of Repression". Under that Act, convictions for political reasons,
unlawful convictions, the use of medical methods and deportations
to another town or republic are deemed to constitute repressive
measures. The Act restores the citizenship, the titles and/or the
rights of citizens of the Republic who have suffered from those
repressive methods. It grants, inter alia, material and professional
privileges to persons repressed during the Soviet period and to
INFORMATION RELATING TO EACH ARTICLE OF PART I OF THE CONVENTION
Armenian legal system and the regulations governing the operation
of judicial institutions lay down conditions conducive to the effective
prevention of any resort to torture or other inhuman or degrading
treatment in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
14 of the Code of Penal Procedure prohibits the obtaining of testimony
through the use of violence, threats or illegal means. In order
to broaden the scope of prohibition of such acts, the draft new
code of penal procedure further stipulates that "the use of
such methods is prohibited for all law enforcement officials and
21 of the new Constitution stipulates that: "No one shall be
subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
Since the term "torture" is defined neither in the Constitution
nor in the relevant legislative texts, the definition contained
in the Convention must be regarded as valid in Armenia since the
entry into force of the Convention.
Penal Code of the Republic of Armenia makes provision for invocation
of the liability of public authorities which, in the discharge of
their duty, cause detriment to the life, health, rights or interests
of citizens. Any official who uses the privileges of his office
to cause detriment to the rights or interests of citizens is liable
to a penalty of two to eight years' imprisonment (art. 182 of the
draft new penal code envisages numerous additional guarantees providing
for compliance with the provisions of the Convention. The Constitution
stipulates that: "Everyone has the right to life. The death
penalty shall be applied only in the case of the most serious offences
and until a decision is taken to abolish it completely". In
conformity with the Constitution, the draft penal code makes provision
for a general liberalization of sanctions and limitation of the
application of the death penalty.
draft code of penal procedure seeks to protect the rights of accused
persons. In particular, it will contain precautionary measures to
reinforce the principle that the accused must be presumed innocent
until proved guilty, by a competent court, in accordance with the
law. Likewise, the draft will stipulate that an accused person held
in pre-trial detention may be subjected only to the restrictions
provided for in the preventive measures. According to the draft,
pre-trial detention must not involve any form of punishment.
legislation of the Republic of Armenia makes no legal provision
for cases of extradition. According to article 19 of the Code of
Penal Procedure, relations between the courts, judges, prosecutors,
investigators and pre-investigation bodies of the Republic of Armenia,
on the one hand, and those of foreign States, as well as the procedure
for investigation in cooperation with foreign institutions, are
determined on the basis of bilateral conventions signed with the
States concerned. Under that provision, extradition is regulated
by a convention signed between Armenia and the State concerned.
A bilateral convention of that type has recently been signed between
the Republic of Armenia and Bulgaria.
27 September 1993, the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia adopted
a decision authorizing the Public Prosecutor of the Republic to
sign extradition agreements with the prosecutors of other States.
22 June 1993, the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia ratified
the Convention on Mutual Legal Aid in Civil, Family and Criminal
Matters and on Judicial Relations, which was signed within the framework
of the CIS.
draft penal code regulates questions concerning the criminal responsibility
of foreigners and stateless persons present in the territory of
the Republic of Armenia, as well as that of Armenian citizens abroad.
The Parliament of the Republic of Armenia has adopted, inter
alia, an Act concerning the Right of Asylum and has ratified
the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
has been proposed that the future code of penal procedure should
incorporate rules prohibiting the extradition of foreigners if their
criminal prosecution has been terminated in the Republic of Armenia
or in accordance with the legislation of the State requesting such
article constituted the motivation for the incorporation in the
draft penal code of several provisions concerning the use of illegal
means. Under article 194 of the draft, it is prohibited to arrest
and imprison any person unlawfully or to exceed the legally specified
period during which a person can be deprived of liberty. Article
195 of the draft stipulates that any police officer who threatens
to use a firearm or physical or mental ill-treatment, including
torture, with a view to obtaining statements or explanations is
liable to a penalty of up to five years' imprisonment.
draft protects persons serving custodial sentences by recognizing
the responsibility of public authorities which tolerate ill-treatment
of persons who are detained or incarcerated.
Penal Code in force in the Republic of Armenia stipulates that Armenian
criminal law applies to the perpetrators of offences committed in
the territory of the Republic of Armenia and on aircraft.
criminal responsibility of diplomats present in the territory of
the Republic of Armenia is regulated through the diplomatic channel.
the bilateral conventions signed by the Republic of Armenia, Armenian
criminal law applies to Armenian nationals who have committed offences
abroad only if criminal proceedings have been instituted against
them and if they have not served their sentence for the same offence
in accordance with a judgement of the foreign State.
Code of Penal Procedure of the Republic of Armenia establishes the
rules for the institution of criminal proceedings. Preliminary proceedings
are instituted if there is a justified suspicion that an offence
has been committed. During these proceedings, it is permissible
only to carry out a preliminary investigation at the scene of the
has also been proposed that pre-investigation, as a means of preliminary
investigation, should be abolished in the draft new code of penal
procedure. It is planned to combine the pre-investigation bodies,
namely the investigators of the Department of Public Prosecutions,
the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Department of State for
National Security, in a single committee which would be incorporated
in the Government.
Code of Penal Procedure specifies the grounds and procedure for
the remand in custody of accused persons (arts. 111 and 112), as
well as the procedure for the indictment of persons suspected of
committing an offence.
this reason, the draft code of penal procedure recognizes the right
of the accused to contest the legality of his remand in custody,
as well as any prolongation of its duration.
Constitution emphasizes the fact that no one can be incarcerated
except by decision of a court. In order to ensure that this provision
is respected, it is planned to introduce the system of examining
magistrates. The examining magistrate would not form part of the
judiciary but would act in his capacity as a member of the body
competent to conduct preliminary examinations. Hitherto, the right
of deprivation of liberty has been vested in the Government Procurator.
However, under this system, the principle of the objectivity of
the public prosecutor is called into question in view of the fact
that it is he who orders remand in custody, presides over the interrogation,
makes a case for culpability and defends the public interest before
the court. Accordingly, the Constitution makes provision for a far-reaching
reform of the investigation procedure and the following stages of
criminal prosecution by clearly separating the three judicial functions,
namely prosecution, defence and judgement.
case in which a foreign national is held in custody is promptly
notified to the diplomatic representatives of his country.
accordance with the Code of Penal Procedure of the Republic of Armenia,
anyone who has knowledge of the commission of a legally punishable
offence has an obligation to duly notify the public prosecutor,
a criminal investigation officer, the police or the court. The latter,
acting within the limits of their competence, take into consideration
the declaration in question and institute legal proceedings. Failure
to notify those bodies after learning of the commission of a legally
punishable offence is sanctioned, under article 206 of the Penal
Code, by a penalty of up to three years' imprisonment. However,
under the draft penal code, the members of the offender's family
are absolved from criminal responsibility in this regard. Public
establishments and non-governmental organizations which, in the
course of their activities, come to know of the commission of a
legally punishable offence have an obligation to duly notify law
investigating body, the examining official and the public prosecutor
have an obligation, within the limits of their competence, to institute
proceedings in respect of such legally punishable offences.
accordance with articles 108 and 109 of the Code of Penal Procedure,
pre-investigation bodies have an obligation to institute proceedings
not only in the case of offences in respect of which a pre-investigation
must be conducted but also in the case of offences the hearing of
which is terminated after a pre-investigation.
Government Procurator has the right to annul decisions taken by
pre-investigation and examining bodies in criminal matters. When
the proceedings are instituted by a court, the public prosecutor
has the right (under arts. 102, 246, 247 et seq.) to appeal against
draft code of penal procedure, by adopting the concept of the court
as the body responsible for the administration of justice, will
annul the rights of the court and of the judge to institute proceedings.
The court should not have a prosecuting function but should merely
determine culpability and, if appropriate, decide on the corresponding
all cases, the rules of the Code of Penal Procedure are applied
in such a way as to ensure that the person being prosecuted enjoys
all the statutory safeguards at the stages of police investigation,
examination and judgement without any discrimination and regardless
of his nationality.
its signature of the Convention, Armenia signed a Convention on
Mutual Legal Aid in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters and on Judicial
Relations, which also covered questions of extradition, with the
States of the CIS. The contracting parties undertook to hand over,
on a reciprocal basis and in accordance with the rules laid down
in the articles of the Convention, individuals facing prosecution
in connection with an offence or whom the judicial authorities of
the party requesting extradition were seeking for the purpose of
enforcing a penalty. Extraditable offences are those punishable,
under the laws of the party submitting or receiving the extradition
request, by a penalty of not less than one year's imprisonment.
If the person concerned has already been sentenced to a penalty
in the territory of the party requesting the extradition, the said
penalty must be for a period of not less than six months.
39. A similar
convention has recently been signed between Armenia and Bulgaria.
Code of Penal Procedure currently in force does not contain any
rules concerning an exchange of mutual legal aid with law enforcement
officials in foreign States. However, article 122 settled the problem
of mutual aid among examining magistrates of the former Soviet Union
for the examination of some offences. The Convention on Mutual Legal
Aid in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters and on Judicial Relations
lays the foundations for mutual legal aid among the States of the
new code of penal procedure will contain provisions permitting mutual
legal aid among examining magistrates and courts through international
new code of penal procedure will also contain provisions concerning
foreign witnesses or experts summoned from abroad who appear voluntarily
before the courts. It will not be permissible to prosecute such
persons or to hold them in custody or preventive detention for the
offence forming the subject of the criminal proceedings.
monthly legal journal "Law and legality" has published
several of the international instruments concerning human rights,
particularly the rights of suspects and accused or convicted persons.
Examples of such instruments are:
of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1992);
The Basic Principles
on the Independence of the Judiciary (1992);
protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty (1994).
information contained in that legal journal is available to law
enforcement officials and to students at the Faculty of Law of the
State University of Erevan.
Republic of Armenia is planning to pursue a policy of integrating
human rights into the teaching and training of some members of the
judiciary and security personnel.
draft penal code will modify the conditions governing the imposition
and enforcement of custodial penalties. The draft will specify the
rights and obligations of the complainant while, at the same time,
respecting the rules laid down by the United Nations, namely segregation
of detained minors, women and perpetrators of unintentional offences,
strengthening of the role of the judge and diminution of that of
the public prosecutor in regard to enforcement of penalties, and
improvement of prison conditions.
concerning the procedure for, and duration of, custody, pre-trial
detention and examination and the time-limits for the lodging of
appeals are currently regulated by the Code of Penal Procedure.
Under article 82 of the Code, police custody cannot exceed 72 hours,
although this period may be extended up to 30 days for reasons to
do with technical difficulties. Pre-trial detention cannot exceed
three months. However, on the expiry of that time-limit, the Government
Procurator may extend it by a substantiated decision (art. 83 of
the Code of Penal Procedure).
accused is convicted if found guilty on the charge brought against
him. He has the right to be informed of the charge, to furnish explanations
and proof, to have a lawyer for his defence (art. 13 of the Code
of Penal Procedure) and to lodge a complaint against the investigating
officials as well as the public prosecutor and the court. The accused
has the right to be heard last.
Government Procurator has an obligation to ensure that all the preparatory
procedures are duly observed. As soon as the preparatory procedures
have been concluded, the matter is referred to the public prosecutor,
who has the right to confirm or annul the preliminary conclusions
of the police investigation. Once the conclusions have been confirmed
by the public prosecutor, the matter must be referred to the court.
order to safeguard the rights of the accused and put into effect
the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia has promulgated
legislation amending some articles of the Code of Penal Procedure.
Under the terms of the Act of 11 May 1992, embezzlement is no longer
a capital offence.
accordance with those amendments, a level of appeal was established
within the Supreme Court in order to enable persons who have been
judged by a division of first instance at the Supreme Court to lodge
an appeal against that judgement at a second level established within
the Court. That division of second instance consists of three judges
of the Court. In recent years, experience has shown that this change
was beneficial, particularly for the rectification of several legal
conditions of pre-trial detention and the treatment of detainees
are constantly monitored by the Ministry of the Interior, the Office
of the Government Procurator and the Ministry of Justice.
Articles 12 and 13
claiming to have been subjected to acts of torture or other inhuman
or degrading treatment during the preparatory procedures has the
right to lodge a complaint with the Office of the Government Procurator.
Any detainee who has suffered similar treatment at places of detention
has the right to lodge a complaint initially with the prison administration
and subsequently with the Government Procurator.
cases of ill-treatment and acts of torture are found to have occurred,
the victim has the right to compensation, under the conditions of
civil liability, in proportion to the detriment suffered. Under
the legislation of the Republic of Armenia, persons who have been
convicted, detained or imprisoned unjustly are entitled to compensation.
In accordance with the regulations promulgated by the Presidium
of the Supreme Soviet of the former Soviet Union on 18 May 1981,
the State indemnifies citizens who are victims of such acts. In
the event of the victim's death, the right to indemnity devolves
on his successors.
Act concerning Victims of Repression of 14 June 1994 lays down the
rules for the definition and compensation of persons who were subjected
to repression during the Soviet period since 1920. Citizens of the
former Soviet Union, stateless persons and foreign citizens who,
due to their political activities, suffered from the repressive
measures mentioned below during the Soviet period are regarded as
victims of repression:
under articles 65, 67, 69 and 206 of the 1961 Penal Code of the
former Soviet Union or under similar articles of the 1927 Penal
Code which were intended to prevent any dissident political opinion;
of criminal responsibility without a judicial decision;
subjection to medical treatment;
from the territory of the former Soviet Union or deprivation of
as a member of the family of a repressed person.
regulates compensation and reinstatement of the civil and political
rights of victims of repression during the Soviet period.
Code of Penal Procedure contains detailed regulations concerning
the questioning of witnesses, defendants, suspects and accused persons.
It lays down a procedure that enables such persons to speak freely
within the limits defined by the subject-matter of the article.
article 193 of the Penal Code, confessions obtained through the
use of torture or other inhuman or degrading methods cannot be invoked
as evidence in proceedings. A person responsible for such acts is
liable to a penalty of up to three years' imprisonment.
article 56 of the Code of Penal Procedure, statements or declarations
obtained in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Code of Penal
Procedure are inadmissible as evidence.
decision of the plenary Supreme Court "concerning judicial
practice in regard to the application of the legislation guaranteeing
the rights of defence of suspects and accused persons" prohibits
the interrogation of witnesses on questions that are likely to imply
their involvement in the offence. A person who has been indicted
cannot be questioned as a witness.
Penal Code contains a special chapter on offences committed against
the system of justice. It is an offence to arrest, imprison or treat
any person in an arbitrary manner or in such a way as to infringe
the proposed amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Penal
Procedure, the Armenian legal system will be based entirely on the
desire to fully protect citizens and foreigners living in the territory
of the Republic of Armenia from torture and all forms of cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.