OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
periodic reports of States parties due in 1995
* The initial
report submitted by the Government of Liechtenstein is contained in
document CAT/C/12/Add.4; for its consideration by the Committee, see
documents CAT/C/SR.195 and 196/Add.2-4 and Official Records of
the General Assembly, fiftieth session, Supplement No. 44 (A/50/44),
* The annex
may be consulted in the files of the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights.
ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 2 November 1990. The Convention
entered into force for Liechtenstein on 2 December 1990. Liechtenstein's
initial report (CAT/C/12/Add.4) was considered by the Committee against
Torture on 10 November 1994 (CAT/C/SR.195 and 196).
the complementary nature of the initial report and the first periodic
report, the present report contains numerous references to the initial
report. Part II refers in addition to the comments made by the delegation
of Liechtenstein on the occasion of the examination of the initial
report by the Committee against Torture.
3. The original
of the report, which is written in German, was approved by the Government
of the Principality of Liechtenstein at its meeting of 3 June 1998.
It covers the period from November 1994 to April 1998.
I. INFORMATION ON NEW MEASURES AND DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE CONVENTION
4. In the
reporting period, neither penal nor disciplinary complaints by prisoners
against the police or prison personnel were recorded. The Government
is also not aware of any complaints of mistreatment by prisoners.
5. The information
contained in paragraphs 12-15 of the initial report remains valid.
is a party to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of
28 July 1951 and its Protocol of 31 January 1967. The Convention influenced
Liechtenstein's asylum policy in the past, above all through the definition
of the concept of refugee and the establishment of the principle of
non-refoulement. However, since the Convention contains no rules concerning
the granting of asylum, and also no corresponding procedural provisions,
and the application of the existing legal provisions concerning the
residence and settlement of foreigners proved too unflexible for the
asylum policy, the Government of Liechtenstein established, on the
basis of a parliamentary initiative at the end of 1994, a working
group to draft an asylum and refugee act.
7. In the
context of the preparation of the draft of the act, numerous experts
were consulted, including representatives of the Expert Commission
of the Council of Europe on Refugee Questions (CAHAR) and the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The
act itself provides in a number of provisions for cooperation with
UNHCR (see article 92 and article 93.4).
8. The act
regulates on the one hand the principles for the granting of asylum
and on the other hand the principles for temporary protection. These
are legally distinct subjects, each calling for its own procedure.
9. The provisions
relating to the granting of asylum regulate, inter alia, the
regular asylum procedure, which can be invoked by individuals. The
persons in question have to prove, or at least to provide credible
evidence, that they are refugees. The act seeks to ensure the shortest
possible duration of the procedure.
10. A second
focus of the act is temporary protection. This affords the possibility
of temporary admission being granted to groups of people who have
fled their home country as a result of an armed conflict. The Government
of Liechtenstein had already followed the same practice in previous
years. The new act now provides a legal basis for this temporary protection.
The arrangement provided for in the act assumes that these people
will as a rule return after a given time to their homes. / In the
case of the individuals who left the former Yugoslavia as a result
of the war, upon the expiry of the transitional protection period
some of the refugees were granted resident permits on humanitarian
grounds. The individuals in question also include victims of torture./
In connection with temporary protection, no regular asylum procedures,
and also no individual verifications, are conducted. This arrangement
also reduces the pressure on the normal asylum procedure. During temporary
protection, possible regular asylum procedures involving individuals
of the protected group are suspended. Once the temporary protection
has lapsed, an application can, however, be made for asylum insofar
as there are grounds for persecution.
11. The act
provides for the establishment of a reception centre where applicants
for asylum are questioned, and refugees are also accommodated until
their situation is clarified. By reason of Liechtenstein's special
situation, particularly the small size of the country, refugees should
as a rule be accommodated in the reception centre until the procedure
is completed. Thus provision for the reception centre to be divided
into two sections is made: one section for the short-term accommodation
of applicants for asylum, and one section where applicants for asylum
can also be accommodated for several weeks and even months where the
duration of the procedure so necessitates. Possibilities are also
provided for, however, of special cases, for example, families or
women with children, being housed in another accommodation for the
duration of the procedure. The most important tasks and functions
of the reception centre include recording personal details, inquiring
as to the route taken and the grounds for asylum, and instructing
applicants for asylum in their rights and duties. This instruction
is required to take place in the language the applicants for asylum
12. A person
applying for asylum must within 20 days after submission of the application
be questioned in detail regarding the grounds for asylum, if necessary
with the involvement of an interpreter. In principle, any person applying
for asylum is heard in the presence of a representative of one of
the relief organizations recognized by the Government unless he or
she waives the right to be so accompanied. The person applying for
asylum can be accompanied simultaneously by a representative and an
interpreter of his or her choice, who, however, may not themselves
be applicants for asylum.
13. In view
of the significance of the principle of non-refoulement for the law
relating to refugees, this principle is explicitly embodied in the
new act (see article 3), although it is already binding for Liechtenstein
on the basis of the Geneva Convention. The act also provides that
no person may be compelled in any way to emigrate to a country in
which his or her life or freedom may be endangered or in which there
is a danger that he or she may be compelled to emigrate to such a
country. This protection against refoulement is in particular supplemented
by the provisions of article 3 of the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which are
directly applicable in Liechtenstein.
14. The Acceptance
of Applicants for Asylum and Persons in Need of Protection Act was
approved by Parliament in April 1998. It is expected to enter into
force in mid-1998.
15. The information
contained in paragraphs 17-21 of the initial report remains valid.
16. The information
contained in paragraphs 22-23 of the initial report is still valid.
17. The information
contained in paragraphs 24-30 of the initial report can be supplemented
18. In implementation
of Security Council resolutions 827 (1993) and 955 (1994) on cooperation
with the international tribunals established to prosecute persons
responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law
committed, in the case of the first resolution, on the territory of
the former Yugoslavia since 1991, and in the case of the second, in
the territory of Rwanda and by Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide
and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring
States, the Government of Liechtenstein intends to submit to Parliament
in 1998 draft legislation on cooperation with these two tribunals.
The relevant preparatory work is currently under way.
19. The information
contained in paragraphs 31-34 of the initial report remains valid.
may be made to the information contained in paragraphs 35-39 of the
21. The information
contained in paragraphs 40-41 of the initial report can be supplemented
by reference to the intended enactment of a law on cooperation with
the international tribunals to prosecute serious violations of international
humanitarian law (see paragraph 18).
may be made to paragraphs 42-46 of the initial report. Given that
during the reporting period no cases of torture or other cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment have occurred in Liechtenstein,
the existing practice of prevention will be continued.
23. The information
contained in paragraphs 47-50 is still valid. / The word "delusions"
in paragraph 48 of the initial report should be replaced by "deception"./
It may be supplemented as follows.
24. The report
of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on its
visit in 1993 of the prison in Liechtenstein was published in May
1995 together with the comments of the Government of Liechtenstein
on the recommendations made in the report. By approving the publication
of the report, the content of which is, according to the European
Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, in principle confidential, the Government
of Liechtenstein enabled the public to inform itself about prison
conditions in Liechtenstein. In August 1995 the CPT was informed of
the measures that had been taken to implement the Committee's recommendations.
These include in particular a staffing increase in order to improve
round-the-clock attention to the inmates (24 hours a day), and the
extension of the legally prescribed minimum visiting time. Further
measures relate to the possibility of engaging in regulated work within
the prison with corresponding income-earning possibilities, the possibility
of keeping oneself informed or entertained on a daily basis by means
of television, and the possibility of physical exercise.
25. The system
of regular monitoring of prison conditions by the European Committee
for the Prevention of Torture serves to maintain or improve protection
against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment. With a view to the further development of cooperation
between the Committee and Governments, regular meetings take place
between the Committee and national officials.
26. The information
contained in paragraph 51 of the initial report remains valid. During
this reporting period as well, no relevant cases have occurred.
27. The information
contained in paragraphs 52-59 of the initial report can be updated
by the statement that in this reporting period as well, there was
no need for the application of article 13 of the Convention.
may be made to the information contained in paragraphs 60-67 of the
report. Additional details are to be found in part II of the present
report. The provisions of article 14 have also not been applied during
this reporting period.
29. The information
contained in paragraphs 67-71 of the initial report is still valid.
II. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE COMMITTEE
30. In conformity
with the guidelines issued by the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/14),
the following paragraphs contain information on the issues raised
by members of the Committee during its examination of the initial
report at the Committee's 195th and 196th meetings, on 10 November
1994 (CAT/C/SR.195 and CAT/C/SR.196/Add.2). The sequence of the answers
follows the numbering of the paragraphs in the summary records of
of the questions were already answered orally by the delegation of
Liechtenstein at the 196th meeting. The answers are to be found in
the relevant summary record (CAT/C/SR.196/Add.2). The following information
is intended to supplement and update the answers already given.
in Liechtenstein are chosen by the Government, nominated by Parliament
and finally appointed by the Prince. The appointment is valid until
retirement. Dismissal or removal from office is possible only on the
basis of disciplinary measures or measures under penal law. No such
cases have yet occurred.
33. The public
prosecutor and the judges (the court) are to be regarded, on the basis
of the separation of powers, as fully independent of one another.
There is neither a de jure nor a de facto connection between
question is comprehensively answered in SR.196/Add.2, paragraph 9.
In accordance with the monistic system in force in Liechtenstein,
the definition of the concept of "torture" contained in the Convention
against Torture is directly applicable. In the case of a conflict
between national law and international law, the principle also applies
that international law takes precedence over national law. There are,
however, no such conflicts in the case of the Convention against Torture.
35. It may
be noted that the persons held in custody for 18 or 40 days pursuant
to article 16, paragraph 4, of the European Convention on Extradition
of 28 October 1969, to which Liechtenstein is a State party, enjoy
the same rights as all other prisoners. Thus, they are not subject
to limitations of any kind, specifically with respect to care, medical
attention and possibilities of contact with their relatives or counsel
for their defence. They are restricted in their freedom of movement
(detained) only within the meaning of the grounds for custody with
which they are charged on the basis of the request for extradition.
the terms of the Mutual Assistance Act, custody may be ordered only
when there are sufficient grounds for assuming that a person arrested
in Liechtenstein has committed an extraditable offence. Once the person
to be extradited has been heard by the court of first instance, the
public prosecutor demands the submission of a report to the Government.
The Government then asks the State in which the offence was committed
whether extradition is requested. An appropriate time has to be determined
for submission of a request for extradition. If a request for extradition
is not submitted in good time, the Government is required to so inform
the court. On the basis of the notification that the request for extradition
has not been submitted in good time, the court of first instance has
to release the person being held in custody immediately, unless the
public prosecutor simultaneously applies for a detention order.
hearing of the person to be extradited is regulated exhaustively in
the Mutual Assistance Act. The court of first instance has to grant
the person to be extradited a hearing in connection with the request
for extradition. It also has to inform the person of his right to
avail himself of the services of defence counsel or to apply for the
holding of a public hearing in the court of second instance. Whether
the documentation relating to the extradition indicates a reasonable
suspicion that the person to be extradited committed the offence with
which he is charged is to be verified only insofar as substantial
doubts exist, particularly when evidence is available or is proffered
that could invalidate the suspicion without delay.
38. If the
person to be extradited does not choose defence counsel or is not
in a position to do so, the court of first instance ex officio assigns
him defence counsel if this is necessary in order to protect his interests.
completion of any necessary inquiries, the court of first instance
is required to submit the documentation to the court of second instance
with a substantiated opinion as to whether the extradition is admissible.
40. The court
of second instance decides on the admissibility of extradition in
a closed meeting unless either the public prosecutor or the person
to be extradited has requested a public hearing and such a hearing
does not also appear necessary in order to determine the admissibility
of the extradition.
41. The Government
verifies the extradition procedure conducted and its outcome on the
basis of the records submitted to it and the documentation in its
possession or that the relevant international agreements and the principles
of international legal relations have been complied with and the public
order or other substantial interests of the Principality of Liechtenstein
have not been prejudiced. In so doing, the Government also has to
pay particular attention to whether sufficient account has been taken
of the obligations of the Principality of Liechtenstein under international
law, particularly in the area of the law of asylum and the protection
of human rights and human dignity.
195, paragraph 30
may be made to the answers given in SR.196/Add.2, paragraphs 11 and
16. With respect to the right of victims of torture to medical and
psychological treatment, it may be noted that all prisoners in Liechtenstein
are covered by compulsory health insurance which pays for the services
of doctors and psychologists.
43. See the
comments in paragraphs 6-14 of part I of this report.
44. The current
situation with respect to the applicants for asylum from Tibet is
as follows: four persons have been recognized as refugees. An appeal
has been lodged with the Administrative Appeals Board against the
Government's rulings to the effect that in the case of the remaining
individuals, the requirements for refugee status under the terms of
the Geneva Convention have not been met. The decisions in this respect
are still pending. Any ruling as to the possible return of these individuals
will be made by the Government in a separate decision following the
completion of the procedure before the Administrative Appeals Board.
The Alien Registration Office has been instructed by the Government
to examine the requirements for their return or their emigration to
a safe third country with a large Tibetan settlement. It will work
together with the Swiss Federal Office for Refugees in clarifying
this matter. The provisions of the Convention against Torture, the
Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms apply in this respect.
may be made to the statements in SR.196/Add.2, paragraphs 13 and 26,
and to the comments in SR.195, paragraph 39. In the past, prisoners
were as a rule informed of their rights orally, when necessary through
an interpreter. On the basis of the recommendations of the European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture, work is being conducted on
an information brochure designed to inform prisoners of their rights
and duties, and in particular of the possibilities of appeal available
to them. The brochure exists in draft form, and should be introduced
in the course of this year. The intention is that the brochure, which
is to be translated into a number of languages, should be handed out
to all prisoners when they are admitted.
are allowed contact with all persons. The only limitation consists
in the provision that these contacts may not result in any prejudice
to the purpose of detention while awaiting trial. The decision whether
such contact is permissible is taken by the examining magistrate.
Thus, under Liechtenstein law no one is held incommunicado, that is
to say there is no form of detention in which the prisoner is cut
off from all contact with the outside world. There are no restrictions
on correspondence, unless the exceptional volume of the correspondence
of a person imprisoned awaiting trial would impair surveillance. In
such cases, only those restrictions that are necessary for unimpaired
surveillance may be ordered. The law provides that letters which it
is feared would result in prejudicing the impairment of the purpose
of imprisonment may be withheld. Letters from persons detained awaiting
trial which arouse the suspicion that they would result in the commission
of a punishable offence to be investigated not simply at the request
of an interested party are always to be seized unless they are addressed
to a general authority, court or other administrative body in Liechtenstein
or to the European Commission on Human Rights.
detained while awaiting trial may receive visits as often and for
as long as the necessary surveillance is possible without impairing
the work and order of the prison. In no case, however, may persons
detained while awaiting trial be denied a visit of a quarter of an
hour's duration at least twice a week.
48. The wording
in paragraph 7 of the initial report "provided it lends itself to
that purpose" is a statement of a general nature and refers to the
legal system of Liechtenstein in general. It is to be taken to mean
legislative measures which are necessary for the implementation of
specific international agreements or subsections thereof, in the event
that the provisions are not sufficiently precisely and specifically
formulated as to be directly applicable (self-executing). Both the
European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and the Convention
against Torture are, however, as directly applicable agreements, an
integral part of national law and accordingly require no explicit
regard to detainees being held incommunicado, see also paragraph 46.
50. An accused
detainee can talk with his lawyer without the presence of a court
officer. If, however, the detainee is being held also or exclusively
because of the risk of collusion, until he is committed for trial
discussions with his lawyer may take place only in the presence of
a court officer.
the investigation, the accused can also avail himself of the services
of a lawyer in order to protect his rights in the court documents
and to execute specific legal remedies applied for by him.
regard to the overall duration of custody, it should be noted that
in principle, all authorities taking part in penal proceedings have
an obligation to ensure that custody lasts for as short a time as
possible. Temporary custody, detention pending trial and the application
of less stringent measures are to be terminated as soon as the need
for them no longer exists and, in the case of detention pending trial,
as soon as its duration becomes clearly out of proportion to the penalty
to be expected. Moreover, the duration of detention pending trial
simply on the grounds of risk of collusion may not exceed two months,
and the duration of such detention imposed also or exclusively for
another reason may not exceed six months. On the application of the
investigating magistrate or the public prosecutor, the Supreme Court
may on grounds of the special difficulty or special scope of the investigation
rule that the duration of detention solely on grounds of risk of complicity
may be up to three months, of detention also or exclusively for another
reason up to one year, or when the offence in question is one which
under the law is subject to imprisonment for a maximum of at least
10 years, up to two years. The time limit on detention pending trial
imposed also or exclusively on grounds other than the risk of collusion
is lifted once the final hearing before the criminal court has been
53. If a
person present in Austria on the basis of the treaty on the accommodation
of prisoners should be victim of torture or mistreatment, all necessary
measures would be required to be taken by the Austrian authorities.
In any event, however, the person concerned would be returned to Liechtenstein
with immediate effect or brought back by the Liechtenstein authorities.
The decision regarding a remission of the sentence would in such a
case be taken by the Liechtenstein authorities.
54. The detained
person naturally has the right both to lodge a complaint in accordance
with Austrian legislation and to contact the authorities in Liechtenstein
(a Liechtenstein court, the Government of Liechtenstein). Such contact
may take place at any time in person, through a lawyer, clergyman
or doctor, or in writing.
55. The constitutionally
guaranteed right to compensation by the State in the event of unlawful
arrest and arrest and sentencing of innocent persons is spelt out
in the 1966 Act on the Legal Responsibility of Officials, article
3 of which reads: "public legal entities shall be liable for damage
inflicted by them or by persons acting on their behalf in the course
of their official duties". Accordingly, victims of torture also have
the right to compensation from the State.
may be made to the answer given in SR.196/Add.2, paragraph 17.
57. The Prison
Administration annually submits to the Government a report on the
situation in the national prison. In addition, under the Criminal
Procedural Code the president of the court of first instance or a
judge of the court designated by him is required to conduct an inspection
of the prison at least once a quarter, without prior notice and in
the absence of the prison governor and to arrange for the shortcomings
identified on the basis of interviews with the prisoners to be remedied.
In accordance with the practice to date, these inspections also include
examining the treatment of persons in police custody.
have no legally established right to conduct inspections. In practice,
however, representatives of NGOs are allowed access to the national
prison at any time, particularly on the basis of a justified request.
Furthermore, an additional possibility of neutral inspection and monitoring
is afforded by the regular services provided by external specialists
/ The Landesphysikus, a doctor in private practice, serves
as the national doctor of Liechtenstein, and is assigned responsibility,
inter alia, for medical care of prisoners. He provides this
care without instructions and on his own responsibility. If a prisoner
refuses the Landesphysikus as official doctor, the prisoner
has the right to consult another doctor in whom he has confidence.
-----/, psychiatrists, clergymen, social workers, etc.). Any person
in custody also has the right to address a request directly to the
Government or to a government office at any time.
59. The decision
as to whether the visits received by a person are to be regarded as
likely to have a negative impact on the purpose of the detention pending
trial is taken by the competent examining magistrate. The only restriction
on communication with the outside world relates to the corresponding
between the accused person in custody and his lawyer, which until
charges are brought is subject to monitoring by the examining magistrate,
but only when the accused is in custody also or exclusively on grounds
of the risk of collusion.
of the penalties for murder and rape are to be found in SR.196/Add.2,
61. The responsibility
for implementation measures rests on the one hand with the Government
(disciplinary measures) and on the other with the court (sentencing
under criminal law). In practice, this means that in the case of a
complaint or accusation, action is taken simultaneously and jointly
by both the Government and the court. As a rule, complaints are received
by the president of the court or his representative.
62. See the
statements in SR.195, paragraph 33.
has been making regular voluntary contributions to the United Nations
Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture since 1984.