CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Initial reports of States Parties due in 1992
[23 June 1993]
1. The Republic of Cyprus
in 1990 approved the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by enacting Law No.
235 of 1990.
2. The instrument of
ratification was deposited with the Secretary-General on 18 July
1991 and in accordance with article 27 (2), the Convention entered
into force for Cyprus on 17 August 1991.
3. On 10 December 1992
the Government of the Republic of Cyprus made a declaration under
articles 21 and 22 of the Convention recognizing the competence
of the Committee established under article 17 of the Convention:
(a) To receive and
consider communication to the effect that a State party claims that
another State party is not fulfilling its obligations under the
Convention (art. 21), and
(b) To receive and
consider communication from or on behalf of individuals subject
to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by a
State party of the provision of the Convention (art. 22).
4. The Republic of Cyprus
has a written Constitution which is the supreme law of the Republic
and no act or decision of any organization or person in the Republic
exercising executive, administrative or judicial power shall in
any way be contrary to or inconsistent with any of the provisions
of the Constitution. The Constitution not only defines the fundamental
rights and liberties in clear language, but also provides effective
remedies for their enforcement.
5. Under Article 35,
the legislative, executive and judicial authorities of the Republic
shall be bound to secure within the limits of their respective competence
the efficient application of the provisions relating to fundamental
rights and liberties. A law which in any way violates any of the
constitutional provisions may be declared by the Supreme Court to
6. Article 7 safeguards
the right to life and corporal integrity. It reads:
"1. Every person
has the right to life and corporal integrity.
2. No person shall
be deprived of his life except in the execution of a sentence
of a competent court following his conviction for an offence for
which this penalty is provided by law. A law may provide for such
penalty only in cases of premeditated murder, high treason, piracy
jure gentium and capital offences under military law.
3. Deprivation of
life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this
Article when it results from the use of force which is no more
than absolutely necessary:
(a) In defence of
person or property against the infliction of a proportionate and
otherwise unavoidable and irreparable evil;
(b) In order to effect
an arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) In action taken
for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection when and as
provided by law."
7. Article 8 provides
that "no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman
or degrading punishment or treatment". This Article is identical
to article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights which the Republic of Cyprus ratified by enacting Law No.
39 of 1962 (see para. 15 below).
8. Article 10 prohibits
slavery or servitude and also provides that no person shall be required
to perform forced or compulsory labour, which does not include:
(a) Any work required
to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according
to the provisions of Article 11 or during conditional release from
(b) Any service of
a military character if imposed or, in the case of conscientious
objectors, subject to their recognition by a law, service exacted
instead of compulsory military service;
(c) Any service exacted
in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being
of the inhabitants.
9. Article 11 guarantees
the right to liberty and security of person. it reads:
"1. Every person
has the right to liberty and security of person.
2. No person shall
be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases when and
as provided by law:
(a) The detention
of a person after conviction by a competent court;
(b) The arrest or
detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order
of a court;
(c) The arrest or
detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him
before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of
having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered
necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after
having done so;
(e) The detention of persons
for the prevention of spreading of infectious diseases, of persons
of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;
(d) The detention
of a minor by a lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision
or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before
the competent legal authority;
(f) The arrest or
detention of a person to prevent him effecting an unauthorized
entry into the territory of the Republic or of an alien against
whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
3. Save when and as
provided by law in case of a flagrant offence punishable with
death or imprisonment, no person shall be arrested save under
the authority of a reasoned judicial warrant issued according
to the formalities prescribed by the law.
4. Every person arrested
shall be informed at the time of his arrest in a language which
he understands of the reasons for his arrest and shall be allowed
to have the services of a lawyer of his own choosing.
5. The person arrested
shall, as soon as is practicable after his arrest, and in any
event not later than 24 hours after the arrest, be brought before
a judge, if not earlier released.
6. The judge before
whom the person arrested is brought shall promptly proceed to
inquire into the grounds of the arrest in a language understandable
by the person arrested and shall, as soon as possible and in any
event not later than three days from such appearance, either release
the person arrested on such terms as he may deem fit or, where
the investigation into the commission of the offence for which
he has been arrested has not been completed, remand him in custody
and may remand him in custody from time to time for a period not
exceeding eight days at any one time:
the total period of such remand in custody shall not exceed
three months from the date of the arrest on the expiration
of which every person or authority having the custody of the
person arrested shall forthwith set him free.
Any decision of
the judge under this paragraph shall be subject to appeal.
7. Every person who
is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled
to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall
be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the
detention is not lawful.
8. Every person who
has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of
the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right
10. Article 12.3 provides
that no law shall provide for a punishment which is disproportionate
to the gravity of the offence.
B. International conventions and treaties
11. International conventions
and treaties when ratified by a law and published in the Official
Gazette are binding on the Republic and they have precedence over
the national legislation. Article 169 reads:
"Subject to the
provisions of article 50 and paragraph 3 of article 57:
(1) Every international
agreement with a foreign State or any international organization
relating to commercial matters, economic cooperation (including
payments and credit) and modus vivendi shall be concluded
under a decision of the Council of Ministers;
(2) Any other treaty,
convention or international agreement shall be negotiated and signed
under a decision of the Council of Ministers and shall only be operative
and binding on the Republic when approved by a law made by the House
of Representatives whereupon it shall be concluded;
(3) Treaties, conventions
and agreements concluded in accordance with the foregoing provisions
of this article shall have, as from their publication in the Official
Gazette of the Republic, superior force to any municipal law on
condition that such treaties, conventions and agreements are applied
by the other party thereto".
12. Some of the provisions
of such conventions when ratified are by their very nature self-executing,
while others can only become operative if they are given effect
by local legislative, executive or administrative action.
13. In the case of Malachtou
v. Armeftis (Civil Appeal No. 6616 dated 20 January 1987) the
Supreme Court of Cyprus held that self-executing provisions in a
convention are applicable and enforceable without the need for passing
any legislation and no other action is required to be taken; if
such provisions are contrary to or inconsistent with other provisions
contaned in the domestic legislation, such self-executing provisions
have precedence over the local provisions. The following passages
from the decision are important:
"In the Republic
of Cyprus a convention negotiated or signed under a decision of
the Council of Ministers and ratified by a law made by the House
of Representatives and published in the Official Gazette of the
Republic acquires superior force to any municipal law.
"... the convention
has superior force not in the sense of repealing the inconsistent
domestic law but in the sense of having superiority and precedence
in its application. We agree with counsel for the appellant that
for a treaty to be applicable it must be self-executing.
"We need not in
this case attempt to give a general definition of the term'self-executin
treaty'. Pious declarations and provisions relating to political
and international relations in a
convention are not self-executing provisions. Only such provisions
of a convention are
self-executing which may be applied by the organs of the State and
which can be enforced by
the courts and which create rights for the individuals; they govern
or affect directly relations of
the internal life between the individuals, and the individuals and
the State or the public
authorities. Provisions which do not create by themselves rights
or obligations of persons or
interests and which cannot be justiciable or do not refer to acts
or omissions of State organs are
which do not require any legislation to make them operative are
sometimes referred to as 'self-executing'. It seems that Congress
has been so prompt to pass legislation for the implementation
of treaties that there have been very few opportunities of judicial
determination of the question which treaties actually require
legislation, and which do not, and it does not follow that, because
legislation was passed to implement a treaty, the legislation
14. Some of the provisions
of this Convention can be implemented directly as self-executing.
Others have to be transformed into domestic legislation or administrative
regulations. Indicatively, the provisions which can be directly
implemented as self-executing are articles 3, 6, 7 and 8. Provisions
under articles 12 and 13 need domestic action. Other provisions
are already covered by the existing legislation.
C. Other conventions ratified
15. The Republic of
Cyprus has ratified a number of international and European conventions
for the protection of human rights, including the following:
(a) European Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by enacting
Law No. 39 of 1962;
(b) International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights by enacting Law No. 14 of 1969;
(c) International Convention
on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination by enacting
Law No. 12 of 1967, amended by Law No. 11 (III) of 1992;
(d) Optional Protocol
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by enacting
Law No. 17 (III) of 1992.
16. By the adoption
of the Optional Protocol referred to above, the right is given to
individuals who claim that any of their rights enumerated in the
Covenant have been violated to submit a written communication to
the Human Rights Committee for consideration.
17. The Republic of
Cyprus in 1989 made a declaration recognizing the competence of
the European Commission on Human Rights to deal with individual
recourses under article 25 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
18. Before the ratification
of the Convention against Torture, torture in its other guises as
assault, causing grievous bodily harm and wounding, were part of
the criminal law and, in addition, if such practices were used with
a view to obtaining a confession, they vitiated the admissibility
of a confession on the grounds of involuntariness. If a confession
was obtained under oppressive circumstances, such confession would
be rendered inadmissible in a court of law (see para. 103 below).
D. Competent authority
19. The authorities
involved in the implementation of the Convention and its principles
are the judicial authorities, the office of the Attorney-General,
the police and other administrative departments.
20. In 1991 a Commissioner
for Administration (Ombudsman) was appointed under the provisions
of the Commissioner for Administration Law, 1991 (Law No. 3 of 1991).
According to the provisions of section 5 of this Law the Commissioner
may investigate complaints involving allegations of illegality,
violation of human rights and contraventions of the principles of
proper administration and good government, including breaches of
natural justice and improper exercise of discretionary powers.
E. Courts and punishment
21. According to the
Court of Justice Law of 1960 (Law No. 14 of 1960 as amended) the
criminal jurisdiction is exercised by the courts set up under the
said law. Offences are tried without jury by one judge if the maximum
penalty provided by the law for the offence committed does not exceed
three years imprisonment, or by an assize court composed of three
judges if the offence is punishable with more than three years imprisonment.
22. Under article 12
of the Constitution every person charged with an offence shall be
presumed innocent until proved guilty.
23. The punishments
which the courts exercising criminal jurisdiction can impose are:
(iii) A fine;
(v) Finding security
to keep the peace and be of good behaviour or to come up for judgement;
(vi) Probation orders;
24. The death penalty
for premeditated murder was abolished and mandatory life imprisonment
substituted (Law No. 86 of 1983).
F. Attorney General
25. The Attorney-General
is one of the Independent Officers of the Republic, the others being
the Auditor General and the Governor of the Issuing Bank of the
Republic. All prosecutions are under the control of the Attorney-General
who enjoys a number of prerogatives, including the right to enter
a nolle prosequi.
26. The following passage
from the Constitution is relevant:
The Attorney-General of the Republic shall have power, exercisable
at his discretion in the public interest, to institute, conduct,
take over and continue or discontinue any proceedings for an offence
against any person in the Republic. Such power may be exercised
by him in person or by officers subordinate to him acting under
and in accordance with his instructions."
27. The police is the
authority responsible for the investigation of offences including
the arrest and detention of suspects.
28. In exceptional cases
the Council of Ministers may appoint a special investigator by name
or by reference to his office to investigate into the commission
of an offence. Such investigator conducts the same work as a police
investigator and this provision of the law is invoked when the impartiality
of the police is in doubt (see paras. 93-94 below).
29. If there is a complaint
of ill-treatment against a police officer, special complaints committees
are set up by decision of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order
(see paras. 90-92 below).
30. The arrest and detention
of a person is governed by law and is within the framework of the
31. Under the Constitution
and the Criminal Procedure Law (cap. 155) the arrest of a person
is effected under a court order unless the offence is a flagrant
one. The detention of a person under a warrant of arrest is only
for 24 hours and if further detention is required, the matter must
be brought before the court for the issue of a remand order, which
should not be for more than eight days. The remand order may be
renewed for further periods of not more than eight days each, but
the aggregate of such periods should in no case exceed three months
(see paras. 9 and 66-67).
32. The remedies available
to a victim of alleged torture are an action for damages, including
exemplary damages or the institution of criminal proceedings against
the alleged perpetrator. Such proceedings can be instituted by or
at the instigation of the Attorney-General or by the victim himself.
33. A victim of torture
is entitled to the services offered by the Government through its
welfare and medical services.
34. A victim of torture
may invoke in a proper case article 22 of the Convention for examination
of his complaint by the Committee set up under article 17 of the
Convention, the competence of which the Republic of Cyprus recognized
in December 1992 (see para 3).
35. Torture is also
prohibited under the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights. Under the Optional Protocol thereto, a victim of torture
may submit a complaint to this Committee (see para. 16, above).
(See, however, the remark made in paras. 52 and 65 below).
36. The Republic of
Cyprus also ratified the European Convention for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by enacting
Law No. 24 of 1989, thus making possible the inspection by the European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture of any place where persons
deprived of their liberty by a public authority are detained, and
the examination of their treatment.
37. As a result of the
occupation of approximately 37 per cent of the territory of the
Republic of Cyprus by the armed forces of Turkey, the Government
of the Republic is prevented from exercising its authority over
and assuring respect for human rights in the occupied area. Therefore
the information given in this report concerns only persons under
the effective jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus (see core document,
p. 9, last paragraph).
II. INFORMATION CONCERNING ARTICLES 2 TO 16 OF THE CONVENTION
Article 2. Prohibition
38. Torture and any
form of cruel or degrading treatment or punishment are abhorrent
acts and were always in one form or another offences under the laws
of Cyprus. Torture is prohibited under Article 8 of the Constitution
which provides that "no person shall be subjected to torture
or to inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment". This Article
of the Cyprus Constitution is identical to article 3 of the European
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights which Cyprus has ratified
by enacting Law No. 39 of 1962 (see para. 16 above).
39. Under the Cyprus
Criminal Code (cap. 154, as amended), the following acts are offences
and may amount to torture:
Section 228. Acts intended
to cause grievous harm or prevent arrest:
who, with intent to maim, disfigure or disable any person
or to do some grievous harm to any person, or to resist or
prevent the lawful arrest or detention of any person -
wounds or does any grievous harm to any person by any
means whatever; or
(c) Unlawfully causes any
explosive substance to explode; or
attempts in any manner to strike any person with any kind
of projectile or with a knife, or other dangerous or offensive
or delivers any explosive substance or other dangerous
or noxious thing to any person; or
any such substance or thing to be taken or received by
any person; or
(f) Puts any
corrosive fluid or any destructive or explosive substance
in any place; or
casts or throws any such fluid or substance at or upon
any person, or otherwise applies any such fluid or substance
to the person of any person,
is guilty of a felony
and is liable to imprisonment for life."
Section 231. Grievous
who unlawfully does grievous harm to another is guilty of
a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years, or
to a fine or to both."
Section 233. Maliciously
administering poison with intent to harm:
who unlawfully, and with intent to injure or annoy another,
causes any poison or noxious thing to be administered to,
or taken by, any person, and thereby endangers his life, or
does him some grievous harm, is guilty of a felony, and is
liable to imprisonment for fourteen years."
Section 234. Wounding
and similar acts:
wounds another; or
and with intent to injure or annoy any person, causes
any poison or other noxious thing to be administered to,
or taken by, any person, is guilty of a felony and is
liable to imprisonment for three years."
Section 243. Bodily
who commits an assault occasioning actual bodily harm is guilty
of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for three
40. The Republic of
Cyprus has ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel
or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment by enacting Law No. 235 of 1990,
making thus the Convention part of its municipal legislation. In
the said Law the offence of torture, as defined in article 1 of
the Convention, is made a specific offence carrying sentences of
varying severity according to the gravity of the offence and the
circumstances of its commission.
41. In particular, section
3 of Law No. 235 of 1990 provides:
"(1) Any person
subjecting another person to torture is guilty of an offence and
(a) To imprisonment
for three years;
(b) To imprisonment
for ten years if he causes serious bodily injury to the tortured
person or uses means or methods of systematic torture;
"(2) If the person
responsible for torture is a public officer or person acting under
his official capacity he is liable:
(a) To imprisonment
for five years;
(b) To imprisonment
for fourteen years if the aggravating circumstances referred
to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above exist.
"(3) If in consequence
of torture the tortured person dies the person responsible for
the torture is liable to imprisonment for life.
"(4) For the purposes
of this section the word 'torture' has the meaning assigned to
it in Article 1 of the Convention."
42. In 1969 the Republic
of Cyprus ratified the international Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights by enacting Law No. 14 of 1969, in consequence of which the
Covenant became part of the municipal law of Cyprus with superior
force to local enactments (art. 169 (3) of the Constitution). Article
7 of the Covenant also prohibits torture.
43. The Republic has
also ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (see para. 36 above).
44. Persons sentenced
to imprisonment and other persons deprived temporarily of their
liberty awaiting trial are detained in prisons which are run under
strict rules and regulations.
45. Under the Prisons
(General) Regulations of 1981, corporal punishment or confinement
in a dark cell and every cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment,
as disciplinary measures against prisoners are prohibited (Reg.
46. Under the same regulations
the Prisons' Council was constituted, with power and authority,
inter alia to hear and investigate any complaint made by
a prisoner, to inspect the condition of the prison building and
to inquire into the working conditions of prisoners.
47. Under Regulation
80 of the same Regulations the isolation of a prisoner is permissible
provided that, if such isolation is likely to have adverse effects
on the prisoner, it can only be resorted to if a medical officer
certifies that the prisoner can sustain such treatment.
48. It must be mentioned
that the Prisons Law and Regulations are at present at an advanced
stage of revision with a view to their being modernized and brought
into conformity with the legislation of other European countries.
The main characteristic
of the new law and regulations is the improvement of the existing
system. In particular:
(a) Prisoners are enabled
to attend weddings, funerals and other family events, either under
guard or with a special permit of absence. This improves the existing
(b) There are provisions
enabling prisoners to have contacts for securing employment after
(c) Also there is provision
for the arrangement of private meetings of prisoners with their
spouses (new provision).
49. Apart from persons
detained awaiting trial and persons convicted and sentenced to imprisonment,
there is another class of persons whose detention is sanctioned
by an order of the court. They are persons suffering from mental
50. Under the mental
Patients Law (cap. 252), persons can only be detained in a mental
hospital if they are fit subjects for confinement so found by an
inquiry carried out by a court of law. Under section 30, mistreatment
or neglect of mental patients by any superintendent, officer, nurse,
attendant, servant or other person employed in any mental hospital,
is an offence. Section 33 makes it an offence for any person who
has accepted the charge of a mental patient to neglect in any way
such a patient. The said sections read as follows:
"Section 30. Any
superintendent, officer, nurse, attendant, servant or other person
employed in any mental hospital, criminal mental hospital, or
the owner of or any person employed in any place in which a mental
patient is confined by reason of a licence issued under section
21 of this Law, who strikes, ill-treats or wilfully neglects any
mental patient or criminal mental patient confined in such mental
hospital, criminal mental hospital or place of confinement shall
be guilty of an offence and shall on summary conviction be liable
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine
not exceeding 125 pounds or to both such imprisonment and fine.
"Section 33. Any
person who accepts the charge of a mental patient or a criminal
mental patient allowed to be absent on parole, and who -
(b) Refuses to allow such
patient to be visited by any medical officer of the mental hospital
or criminal mental hospital from which he was liberated on parole
or by a District Medical Officer,
(a) Wilfully neglects
to provide such patient with suitable lodging, clothing, food,
medical attendance when required, or other necessaries, or
fails to take proper care of such patient; or
shall be guilty of
an offence and shall on summary conviction be liable to imprisonment
for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding
125 pounds or to both such imprisonment and fine."
This Law is currently
undergoing drastic revision and compulsory confinement will be restricted
to certain cases where the patient may be dangerous to himself or
to others and the confinement shall not be for an indefinite period
but for a fixed period, subject to renewal if there is no change
in the patient's condition justifying his release.
51. Paragraphs 2 and
3 of the Convention are self-executing provisions and need no local
action for their respect and implementation (see para. 13 above).
52. It should be noted
that Cyprus has never proclaimed a state of emergency since independence,
not even when the country was invaded by Turkey in 1974 and part
of it was and continues to be occupied. Despite the devastating
effects those events had on normal life in general (thousands of
people lost their lives and 40 per cent of the Greek Cypriot population
was displaced) and the upheaval they caused to the administration
of the country in particular, the provisions of Article 183 of the
Constitution were not invoked. (See core document, p. 16).
53. The order of a superior
officer under the existing law is not a defence if it directs another
to the commission of an offence. Under the Criminal Code (cap. 154)
the defence of compulsion is very restrictive. Section 16 reads:
murder and offences against the State punishable with death, no
act is an offence which is done by a person who is compelled to
do it by threats which at the time of doing it reasonably cause
the apprehension that instant death to that person will otherwise
be the consequence; provided that the person doing the act did
not, of his own accord or from a reasonable apprehension of harm
to himself short of instant death, place himself in the situation
by which he became subject to such constraint."
Also, under the Public
Service Law 1990 (Law No. 1 of 1990) a civil servant has a duty
to comply with the direction of his superiors, except that in cases
where the specific direction is ostensibly illegal the civil servant
has a duty not to comply with such direction. He must only comply
with such direction if the superior officer insists on the basis
of the opinion of the Attorney General.
Article 3. No
extradition to a State where torture is likely to take place
54. The Republic of
Cyprus ratified the European Convention on Extradition in 1970 (Law
No. 95 of 1970). Under the said Convention extraditable offences
are all offences punishable both in the requesting and the requested
State with imprisonment of 12 months or more. However, if the extradition
is not sought by a member State, the provisions of the Extradition
of Fugitives Law, 1970 apply (Law 97 of 1970). Under that Law extradition
is effected between:
(a) Prescribed Commonwealth
countries for offences set out in a schedule to the Law;
(b) Countries with
which the Republic has signed a bilateral treaty for this purpose
and for offences specified in the treaty.
The schedule in which
the extraditable offences for extradition to Commonwealth countries
are set out does not make specific reference to torture, but it
includes the following offences:
(a) Malicious or intentional
wounding or causing grievous bodily harm;
(b) Unlawful assault
causing actual bodily harm;
55. Article 3 of the
Convention against torture shall be read as part of the municipal
legislation and shall have precedence over any other provision.
Therefore, the provisions of this article should be respected and
implemented without need for domestic action.
56. Cyprus is not as
yet facing a problem of refugees from other countries and cases
of deportation of undesirable immigrants are dealt with and considered
individually. Since the Convention became part of domestic law,
authorities must, in dealing with cases of expulsion or return,
bear in mind and respect article 3 of the Convention, which is a
57. It must be mentioned
that Cyprus has ratified the Fourth Protocol to the Convention for
the Protection of Human Rights (by enacting law No. 52 of 1989).
Under article 3:
(i) No one shall be
expelled by means of an individual or of a collective measure from
the territory of the State of which he is a national.
(ii) No one shall be
deprived of the right to enter the territory of the State of which
he is a national.
Under article 4 of the
Cyprus Constitution no citizen can be banished or excluded from
the Republic under any circumstances.
58. Finally, it may
be added that under article 32 of the Constitution the Republic
is not precluded by reason of the provisions regarding the fundamental
rights and liberties from regulating any matter relating to aliens
in accordance with international law. Deportation of aliens is only
permissible under section 14 of the Aliens and Immigration Law (cap.
105), by which the Chief Immigration Officer can make a deportation
order after the conduct of a proper inquiry into the case. Deportation
orders are mostly made on grounds of public interest, such as the
protection of peace, good order, good government, public morals
or public security. A deportation order can be the subject of a
recourse to the Supreme Court under article 146 of the Constitution.
Article 4. Making
torture an offence
59. The Republic of
Cyprus has made torture an offence by enacting Law No. 235 of 1990
for the purpose of ratifying the Convention Against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The offence
of torture is punishable with terms of imprisonment varying from
three years to life imprisonment. (see para. 40 above).
60. Under the provisions
of the Criminal Code (cap. 154) the attempt to commit an offence
and complicity in the commission of an offence are themselves offences.
Section 366 of Cap. 154 defines attempt. Section 367 makes the attempt
an offence. Section 368 provides for the punishment of attempt.
Section 370 provides that a person who incites or attempts to induce
another person to commit an offence is guilty of an offence. Sections
371 and 372 refer to conspiracies to commit an offence.
Article 5. Extension
61. Under the Criminal
Code (cap. 154, sect. 5) courts of the Republic of Cyprus exercising
criminal jurisdiction have power to try any criminal offence, including
the offence of torture, when the offence is committed within the
territory of the Republic or aboard a Cyprus ship or aboard an aircraft
registered in Cyprus.
62. Moreover, the courts
of the Republic of Cyprus have jurisdiction to try any offence committed
in a foreign country if the offender is a citizen of the Republic,
the offence is punishable in the Republic with death or imprisonment
exceeding two years and the act or omission also constitutes an
offence punishable by the law of the country where it was committed.
63. If the victim is
a national of the Republic of Cyprus and he was tortured in a State
over which the Republic has no jurisdiction and the offender is
not a citizen of the Republic, then it may not be considered appropriate
in such circumstances to assume jurisdiction even if the offender
is in Cyprus.
64. The Republic is
considering taking the necessary measures so as to extend the jurisdiction
over offences committed abroad, if the offender is present in Cyprus
and cannot be extradited under article 8 of the Convention.
65. As stated in paragraph
37 of this report (see also core document, p. 9, last paragraph),
as a result of the occupation of approximately 37 per cent of the
territory of the Republic of Cyprus by the armed forces of Turkey,
the Government of the Republic is prevented from exercising its
authority and assuring respect for human rights, including the provisions
of this Convention, in the occupied area. The Government of the
Republic is also prevented, by the fact of occupation, from exercising
its authority in respect of fugitives or convicts who take refuge
in the territory occupied by the Turkish armed forces.
Article 6. Arrest
of a person
66. The provisions of
article 6 are self-executing and the authorities are bound to implement
them. A person who is not a national of Cyprus and is present in
Cyprus is liable to arrest if he commits the offence of torture
or any other offence for which the Cyprus courts have jurisdiction
either to try him or to extradite him following the procedure prescribed
in the relevant law (European Convention on Extradition (Ratification)
Law 1970 (Law No. 95 of 1970) and Extradition of Fugitives Law,
1970 (Law No. 97 of 1970)).
67. In view of the nature
of the provisions of article 6 of the Convention, there is no need
for particular measures to be taken for its implementation, particularly
paragraphs 3 and 4.
Article 7. Duty
to extradite or prosecute and afford fair trial
68. In Cyprus all prosecutions
come under the authority and control of the Attorney-General. Offences
are invariably reported to the police and after an investigation
is carried out, a decision is taken as to whether to prosecute or
not. The seriousness of the offence is usually reflected in the
punishment provided by the law and the procedure in the trial of
the case is the same as in any other criminal case.
69. The right to a fair
trial is assured by provisions of the Constitution, by the various
international and European conventions the Republic of Cyprus has
ratified and by domestic legislation.
70. The following articles
of the Constitution apply:
(a) Article 28.1 provides
that "All persons are equal before the law, the administration
and justice and are entitled to equal protection thereof and treatment
(b) Article 12 provides:
"1. No person
shall be held guilty of any offence on account of any act or omission
which did not constitute an offence under the law at the time when
it was committed; and no person shall have a heavier punishment
imposed on him for an offence other than that expressly provided
for it by law at the time when it was committed.
2. A person who has
been acquitted or convicted of an offence shall not be tried again
for the same offence. No person shall be punished twice for the
same act or omission except where death ensues from such act or
3. No law shall provide
for a punishment which is disproportionate to the gravity of the
4. Every person charged
with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according
5. Every person charged
with an offence has the following minimum rights:
(a) To be informed
promptly and in a language which he understands and in detail of
the nature and grounds of the charge preferred against him.
(b) To have adequate
time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) To defend himself
in person or through a lawyer of his own choosing or, if he has
no sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given free
legal assistance when the interests of justice so require;
(d) To examine or have
examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and
examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions
as witnesses against him.
(e) To have the free
assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the
language used in court.
6. A punishment of
general confiscation or property is prohibited."
(c) Article 30.2 provides:
"In the determination
of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against
him, every person is entitled to a fair and public hearing within
a reasonable time by an independent, impartial and competent court
established by law. Judgment shall be reasoned and pronounced in
public session, but the press and the public may be excluded from
all or any part of the trial upon a decision of the court where
it is in the interest of the security of the Republic or the constitutional
order or the public order or the public safety or the public morals
or where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private
life of the parties so require or, in special circumstances where,
in the opinion of the court, publicity would prejudice the interests
(d) Article 30.3 provides:
has the right:
(a) To be informed
of the reasons why he is required to appear before the court;
(b) To present his
case before the court and to have sufficient time necessary for
(c) To adduce or cause
to be adduced his evidence and to examine witnesses according to
(d) To have a lawyer
of his own choice and to have free legal assistance where the interests
of justice so require and as provided by law;
(e) To have free assistance
of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language
used in court."
71. Article 14 of the
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which Cyprus
ratified by law No. 14 of 1969, corresponds to the articles of the
Cyprus Constitution mentioned above.
72. The domestic legislation
safeguarding fair trial is:
(a) The Criminal Procedure
Law (cap. 155);
(b) The Courts of Justice
Law, 1960 (Law No. 14 of 1960);
(c) The Evidence Law
(cap. 9) (containing local provisions and reaffirming the applicability
of the Common Law);
(d) The Juvenile Offenders
Law (cap. 157).
73. It must be mentioned
that the right to a fair trial is emphasized in judgements of the
Supreme Court, which must be respected by all courts.
Article 8. Making
74. Under the Extradition
of Fugitives Law, 1970 (Law No. 97 of 1970) the offence of torture
is not specifically listed as extraditable. In view of the fact
that torture may at the same time constitute one of the listed extraditable
offences, any amendment of the law so as to make the offence of
torture a specific extraditable offence is not considered necessary
(see para. 54 above).
75. Regarding the difficulties
pertaining to the extradition of a person taking refuge in the part
of Cyprus occupied by Turkey, see paragraph 65 above.
Article 9. Mutual
76. The Republic of
Cyprus is in general cooperative with other countries on matters
of crime detection and in criminal proceedings and no special steps
need be taken for the offence of torture, which is considered a
serious offence. Cyprus has signed a number of bilateral treaties
on legal proceedings and legal assistance in civil and criminal
matters and with Greece on legal cooperation in matters of civil,
family, commercial and criminal law.
Article 10. Education
77. Needless to say,
the authorities and the people of Cyprus are very sensitive and
conscious on matters regarding the respect of human rights owing
to the flagrant violation of such rights in consequence of the Turkish
Invasion in 1974. In the civics lesson for secondary schools there
is extensive reference to and a verbatim reproduction of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the relevant articles of
78. In the programme
of the Police Academy there is a special subject regarding ill-treatment
and interrogation of suspects. The following subjects are included
in the curriculum, and are indicative of the comprehensiveness of
the education and training the police officers receive:
(a) The role of police
officers in the promotion and protection of human rights;
(b) Historical evolution
of human rights;
(c) Cyprus Constitution
and human rights;
(d) Code of behaviour
of police officers with the public (in general);
(e) Slavery and slaves;
(f) Torture (in general),
(g) Search, arrest
and detention of people;
(i) The right of marriage;
(j) Interrogation of
(k) Entry and search
of premises and seizure of goods;
(l) Taking body samples;
(m) Freedom of speech;
(n) Use of force.
79. The education and
training of police officers is supplemented by lectures which are
periodically given by judges and representatives of the Attorney-General.
80. Members of the staff
of prisons and hospitals are also warned against ill-treating prisoners
or patients in any way.
Article 11. Interrogation
81. The interrogation
of suspects or witnesses must be carried out very carefully and
according to the rules because any statement vitiated in any way
by the use of force or any form of oppression is rejected by the
courts if tendered as evidence. In Cyprus any investigator must
apply certain rules which under English law are known as the Judges
Rules and set very high standards of interrogation procedure. Those
Rules were made part of the Law of Cyprus (Criminal Procedure Law,
cap. 155, sect. 8). The manner of interrogation is one of the subjects
included in the programme of the Police Academy (see preceding paragraph).
Articles 12 and 13.
Investigation of complaints
82. The investigation
of complaints and the making of a complaint are closely connected
and will be dealt with together below.
83. A complaint by a
person alleging to have been tortured by a public official or a
person acting in an official capacity is usually made to the police.
In such a case, if the official is not a police officer himself,
the police would be considered as an impartial investigator and
the proper authority for dealing with reports and the investigation
of criminal offences.
84. For the reporting
of cases of torture alleged to have been committed by members of
the police and their investigation there is provision in the Police
(Discipline) Regulations of 1989 for the setting up of complaints
committees. Such committees are set up by an order of the appropriate
Minister (the Minister under whose authority the Police come).
85. The complaints committees
are composed of:
(a) One law officer
nominated by the Attorney-General;
(b) Two officers holding
a post in the public service;
(c) One senior police
officer who must not come from the same unit, department or division
as the officer against whom the complaint is made.
The members under (b)
and (c) above are nominated by the appropriate Minister, who also
nominates the chairman of the committee.
86. The committee investigates
the complaint and submits its report to the appropriate Minister.
The committee when investigating a complaint has the same powers
as a commission of inquiry operating under the Commissions of Inquiry
Law (cap. 44). Such powers include:
(i) The taking on oath
of all such evidence written or oral as it considered desirable;
(ii) The summoning
of any person to attend a meeting of the committee to give evidence
or produce any documents;
(iii) The issuing of
a warrant compelling the attendance of any witness;
(iv) The fining of
any person refusing to give evidence or produce a document;
(v) The admission or
exclusion of the public or the press.
87. The Minister, after
the submission of the report of the committee, may refer the matter
to the Attorney-General if a criminal offence appears to have been
committed, or refer the matter for disciplinary action if a disciplinary
offence appears to have been committed. If no criminal or disciplinary
offence appears to have been committed the report is returned through
the Chief of Police to the complaints committee and the complainant
is informed accordingly.
88. Under the above
regulations the complaint is made to the Chief of Police.
89. During the years
1990-1991 16 cases were examined by such committees. In eight of
the cases no criminal or disciplinary offences were found to have
been committed. In three of the cases there were doubts as to the
commission of any offence. In two cases it was established that
the officers involved exceeded their right to exercise only necessary
force. A recommendation was made to take disciplinary action against
the officers involved in the one case and criminal proceedings were
taken against the officers in the other. The case is still pending.
There was another case where a criminal offence appeared to have
been committed, but the case was discontinued. In one of the cases
where no offence of whatever nature appeared to have been committed,
the complainant himself filed a criminal charge against the officers
90. The impartiality
of the complaints committees was questioned in a recent case (summer
of 1992) on the ground that the members of the committee, with the
exception of the member nominated by the Attorney-General, were
all appointed by the Minister responsible for the Police. In view
of this development the Council of Ministers invoked a provision
in the Criminal Procedure Law (cap. 155, sect. 4 (2)) and appointed
an ex-judicial officer as an independent investigator of the complaint.
91. Section 4 of the
Criminal Procedure Law under which the special investigator was
appointed, reads as follows:
"4.(1). Any police
officer may investigate into the commission of any offence.
(2). The Council of
Ministers may authorize any person, by name or by his office,
who appears to it to be competent for the purpose, to investigate
into the commission of any offence".
92. An investigator
appointed by the Council of Ministers under the Criminal Procedure
Law carries out the work of a police investigator and at the end
of his investigations submits to the Attorney-General the evidence
collected for further action. The investigator appointed in the
particular case referred to above submitted his report and the evidence
to the Attorney-General, on the basis of which two senior police
officers were charged with torture under a provision of the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment
(Ratification) Law 1990 (Law No. 235 of 1990). The trial is still
93. Since 1991 any person
having a complaint concerning the violation of his rights, including
ill-treatment by a member of the police or other officer in the
public service, may submit his complaint to the Commissioner for
Administration (Ombudsman). The relevant Law was enacted in 1991
(Law No. 3 of 1991).
94. Under section 5
(1) (a) of the Law, the Commissioner for Administration has power
to investigate any complaint against any public officer (including
a police officer) that any action of such officer violates, inter
alia, personal rights. If during the investigation of such a
complaint it appears to the Commissioner that a criminal offence
has been committed, he refers the matter to the Attorney-General
for the taking of the necessary action.
95. A citizen has the
right to institute himself criminal proceedings against the person
who allegedly tortured him, if for any reason no criminal proceedings
are taken against that person.
96. A complaint of torture
or ill-treatment may further be made to a court when the suspect
is brought before it for the issue of any order for his detention.
Every person arrested for any crime must be brought before a court
within 24 hours from his arrest, for the purpose of securing an
order for his remand in custody. The suspect has then the opportunity,
if he was ill-treated in any way during his detention, to bring
the matter to the knowledge of the court (see para. 9 above). The
court may give directions for the investigation of the complaint
and further direct that the complainant be examined by a doctor.
97. An investigation
of a complaint of ill-treatment may also be directed by a court
during the trial of any person charged with the commission of a
criminal offence, if such person objects to the production of a
confession he made on the ground that it was obtained by the use
of torture, ill-treatment or under oppressive circumstances.
98. Despite the machinery
available for the making of complaints and their investigation by
an impartial investigator, the procedure under section 4 (2) of
the Criminal Procedure Law (cap. 155) may be reviewed in the near
future so as to make it a more flexible alternative to the other
Article 14. Remedies
99. Apart from the right
of the victim to institute criminal proceedings against the torturer,
he may also sue him for damages. In an action for damages, the court
awards general and special damages. The special damages are liquidated
damages covering actual expenses, whereas the general damages cover
a wide spectrum of damages, including pain and suffering, present
and future, loss of earnings, present or prospective, medical expenses
and any other expenses necessary for rehabilitation. In a proper
case the court may award exemplary damages and such damages may
be appropriate in a bad case of torture.
100. Under the Civil
Wrongs Law (cap. 148), as recently amended by Law No. 156 of 1985,
damages are awarded for bereavement. Such action is brought by the
husband or wife of the deceased or by the parents if the deceased
was below the age of 18. The damages are fixed. Under the same Law,
damages are awarded to the dependants of a person who dies as a
result of a civil wrong. The class of dependants was widened by
the aforesaid amendment to the Law and includes husband or wife,
parents, children or descendants, brother or sister, uncles and
101. Under the Constitution,
the Government is sued like any other person and is liable for all
acts committed by its officers in the execution of their duties.
It is questionable whether the liability of the Government is based
on the liability a master has for the acts of his servant, in which
case the master may not be liable for the criminal acts of the servant
unless expressly authorized by him, or is based on the principle
of direct liability in the sense that any act of a civil servant
in the execution of his duties is deemed to be the act of the Government.
However, whatever the answer to the above question, the fact is
that the Government invariably compensates the persons who suffer
damages in consequence of acts of its officers, with or without
admission of liability.
102. On 9 January 1991
the Republic of Cyprus signed the European Convention for the Compensation
of Victims of Violent Crimes, of 1983, and is currently preparing
a bill for giving effect to the provisions of the Convention. By
the said bill a victim of a crime involving violence will be entitled
to compensation from a special fund which will be under the control
of the Director of Social Insurance. This will be beneficial for
victims who cannot obtain redress from the Government or from the
Article 15. Statements
obtained by torture
103. Statements obtained
by torture are not admissible in the courts of law. Moreover, it
must be stressed that under the evidentiary system of Cyprus, hearsay
evidence is not admissible and if the statement is tendered in lieu
of calling the maker of the statement to testify, it shall not be
admissible even if obtained freely and without using any kind of
torture or oppression. It must also be mentioned that the judge
may exclude even admissible evidence if, in his opinion, its prejudicial
effect outweighs its probative value.
Article 16. Other
acts of degrading treatment
104. The Republic is
currently considering the modernization of its Criminal Code and
will take the provisions of article 16 into consideration in doing
105. The punishments
which a court can impose are governed by express legal provisions
which cannot be contrary to the constraints contained in the Constitution.
In the Criminal Code there was provision for whipping and caning.
Such punishments were contrary to the Constitution and were repealed.
Also, penal servitude is prohibited by the Constitution and any
form of punishment involving labour must be imposed with the consent
of the offender. Even conditions involving labour cannot be included
in a probation order unless the offender consents to such a condition.
106. The Republic of
Cyprus is very conscious and sensitive regarding the respect of
human rights in general, and the efforts for the implementation
of all conventions safeguarding such rights are constant, consistent
and intensive. In this respect it may be usefully mentioned that
the Council of Ministers recently decided to entrust the Law Commissioner
with the duty to prepare, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, the Attorney-General,
the Commissioner for Administration and other Ministries or departments
involved, the reports which are periodically submitted to the Commissions
set up under the provisions of the various Conventions. In addition,
the Law Commissioner is authorized to keep under constant review
the local legislation, with a view to making suggestions for its
harmonization with the provisions and principles of the Conventions.