CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Third periodic reports due in 1996
* For the initial report of Norway, see CAT/C/5/Add.3; for its consideration,
see CAT/C/SR.12 and 13 and Official Records of the General Assembly,
Forty-forth Session, Supplement No. 46 (A/44/46), paras. 76-93.
For the second periodic report, see CAT/C/17/Add.1; for its consideration,
see CAT/C/SR.122 and 123 and Official Records of the General Assembly,
Forty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 44 (A/48/44), paras. 63-87.
is made to the initial report submitted by Norway (CAT/C/Add.3), to
the first supplementary report submitted by Norway (CAT/C/17/Add.1)
and to the summary records of the 122nd and 123rd meetings of the
Committee concerning the consideration of Norway's first supplementary
report (CAT/C/SR.122 and 123). Reference is also made to Norway's
core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.6).
2. Part 1
of the initial report and the introduction to the first supplementary
report contain general information on, inter alia, relevant
international instruments ratified by Norway. As regards the status
of human rights instruments in domestic law, reference is made to
the core document (paragraphs 8-11) and to Part II below.
3. In preparing
this document, due regard has been given to the general guidelines
regarding the form and contents of periodic reports to be submitted
by States parties under article 19, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
However, the Government has considered it expedient to include additional
information requested by the Committee under the relevant articles
in Part I. The information provided under Part II below relates to
the Committee's conclusions following the consideration of Norway's
first supplementary report. The information provided below under articles
2-15 applies to some extent not only to torture as defined in article
1 in the Convention, but also to other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment (see article 16).
4. In accordance
with the reporting procedure described in the core document (paragraphs
17-18), a draft of the present report has been submitted for comment
to the Government's Advisory Committee on the Human Rights Working
Group on UN-related Issues.
5. The European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment visited various prisons and police establishments in
Norway from 27 June to 6 July 1993. A specific reference to the Committee's
visit will be made under article 16 below. The Committee's report
to the Norwegian Government on its visit to Norway, adopted on 2 March
1994 (CPT (94) 1), the response of the Norwegian Government of 21
September 1994 (CPT/Inf (94) 12) to the Committee's report, and the
subsequent report of 9 March 1995 (1257/95 D EBJ/kmr) providing a
full account of action taken by the Norwegian authorities to implement
the Committee's recommendations are annexed to the present report
(annexes 1, 2 and 3).
I. INFORMATION ON
NEW MEASURES AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE CONVENTION
is made to Norway's initial report (paragraphs 9 and 12) and Norway's
first supplementary report (paragraphs 3-4) regarding special investigative
bodies (SIB). The SIB were set up after allegations of police brutality
in the city of Bergen in the 1980s to ensure that criminal charges
against the police were investigated impartially and independently
by special bodies outside the police force. Each body consists of
three members: a well-qualified lawyer (normally a judge), an advocate
with experience as defence counsel and a person with experience of
police investigation. The board is responsible for investigating cases
against police officers and officers of the prosecuting authority
for offences committed in the course of their duties. When the board
has finished its investigation, the case is forwarded with a recommendation
to the District Public Prosecutor who decides whether the accused
shall be put on trial.
7. In April
1995, new subsections 7 and 8 were added to section 67 of the Criminal
Procedure Act concerning the SIB. Subsections 7 and 8 now read:
"Even if there is no
reason to suspect a criminal act, the King may decide that such
criminal investigation as is referred to in the sixth paragraph
shall be commenced if any person dies or is seriously injured
as a result of any performance of duty by the police or the prosecuting
authority. The same applies if any person dies or is seriously
injured while he is in care of the police or the prosecuting authority.
"A police official
within the meaning of the sixth and seventh paragraphs includes
cadets at the Police College in practical training and manpower
mobilized from the police reserve."
amendments came about as a result of a thorough evaluation of the
investigative bodies' role and the results of their work carried out
in 1993/94. The reason for including the seventh subsection is that
certain incidents are so serious that they require an investigation
even though there is no suspicion of a criminal offence having been
committed. These investigations should therefore not be interpreted
as the officers involved being suspected of a crime. The reason for
the inclusion of the eighth paragraph is that the cadets at the Police
College and manpower from the police reserve are not considered to
be "officers of the police", and they could originally not be investigated
by the SIB. However, in the eyes of the public they do the same work
as - and appear to be - ordinary police officers.
the period 1991-1995, 2,322 cases were reported to these bodies. In
197 of the cases, the investigative bodies found reason to believe
that a criminal offence had taken place. Only 16 of these cases related
to the use of force by the police.
was a significant increase in the number of reported cases from 1991
to 1993 (515 versus 609 reports). The increase was probably, at least
in part, a result of the fact that the bodies were inactive for most
of 1992 due to a conflict between their members and the Ministry of
Justice regarding compensation. However, since 1993 the number of
reports has stabilized at about 600 a year. The number of reports
relating to violence, gross negligence/misconduct and traffic crimes
respectively have all remained fairly stable in relation to one another.
11. In his
annual report of 1995, the Director General of Public Prosecutions
proposed with regard to the SIB that a research project be launched
in order to gather more background material on the above statistics.
The proposal is currently being considered by the Ministry of Justice.
respect to Norwegian emergency legislation, the Government is planning
to undertake an in-depth, systematic review of the consistency of
legislation pertaining to emergency situations in the defence field
with international standards, including the Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in
the course of 1996 and 1997. Existing Norwegian legislation in this
field is, however, believed to be consistent with applicable international
is made to the information supplied in Norway's initial report and
first supplementary report with regard to this article, which still
the consideration of the first supplementary report, the Norwegian
delegation was asked how the Immigration Act actually works, e.g.
(a) whether foreigners could be denied entry to the country by the
border police and turned back; (b) if so, and if they were refugees,
were they sent back to the country of first asylum or elsewhere; (c)
what authority decided on the right to asylum: could its decision
be appealed and, if so, to which court? (See CAT/C/SR/122, para. 10.)
With regard to those questions:
(a) A foreign
national who claims to be a refugee or otherwise provides information
which suggests that the provisions on protection in section 15, subsection
1, of the Immigration Act will apply, cannot be denied entry to the
country by the border police and turned back. The case shall be referred
to the Directorate of Immigration for consideration and decision;
refugees can be sent back to the country of origin or the country
of first asylum, but only if the country is regarded as safe (see
section 15 of the Immigration Act);
Directorate of Immigration decides on the right to asylum. The Directorate
of Immigration is an independent central administrative office. All
asylum seekers whose asylum application has been rejected by the Directorate
of Immigration can appeal the decision to the Ministry of Justice.
15. The Norwegian
Extradition Act of 13 June 1975 states in section 16 that extradition
may not take place if it may be assumed that there is a grave danger
that the person concerned, for reasons of race, religion, nationality,
political convictions or other political circumstances, will be exposed
to persecution directed against his life or liberty, or that the said
persecution is otherwise of a serious nature. Section 7 states that
extradition may not take place if it would conflict with fundamental
humanitarian considerations, especially on account of the person's
age, condition of health or other circumstances of a personal nature.
In this connection, mention may be made of an extradition case which
has received considerable attention.
16. On 16
September 1993, three Iranian nationals hijacked a Russian aeroplane
in Azerbaijan and demanded that it be flown to Norway via Russia.
An extradition request was subsequently made by the Russian authorities.
The Iranians in their representation to the Ministry of Justice made
reference to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to the European Convention
on Human Rights and submitted that their state of health and the standard
of and conditions in Russian prisons should bar their extradition
to Russia. The case was tried at all levels of the Norwegian courts
system, and the Supreme Court ruled that the criteria for extradition
were met. After having carefully considered the objections raised
by the Iranians, the Government decided to comply with the extradition
request. The Government was of the opinion that extradition would
not in this particular case be contrary to the present Convention
or other applicable international standards and considered it decisive
that the aircraft hijacking was an extremely grave offence, which
was carefully planned and which endangered the lives of the passengers
and crew. The extradition was granted on several conditions, inter
alia, that the death penalty must not be imposed and that the
persons extradited must not be deported to the Islamic Republic of
Iran, even after having served a possible sentence.
17. On 13
January 1995, the European Commission of Human Rights rejected a request
made by the hijackers with regard to rule 36 of the Rules of Procedure
of the Commission concerning interim measures.
authorities are monitoring the conditions of the Iranians in Russia.
Representatives from the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow have made several
visits to the prison to make sure that the situation of the Iranians
is satisfactory. The Embassy is in continuous contact with the Russian
authorities and the Russian lawyer appointed for the Iranians.
19. The information
supplied in the initial report (paragraphs 17-21) and in Norway's
first supplementary report (paragraphs 7-16) still applies.
20. The information
supplied in Norway's first supplementary report (paragraphs 17-18)
21. In the
course of the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report,
the Chairman of the Committee stated that he was not sure that the
measures described in the report (paragraph 19) were in keeping with
article 6, paragraph 1, of the Convention (see CAT/C/SR.122, para.
38). (Article 6, paragraph 1, requires any State party in whose territory
a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article
4 is present to take him into custody or take other legal measures
to ensure his presence.)
14 of the Criminal Procedure Act contains general provisions on arrest
and remand in custody. These also apply to persons suspected of having
committed any offence referred to in article 4 of the Convention.
(A copy of the English translation of chapter 14 of the Act is enclosed
as annex 4.)
to section 171 of the Act, a person may only be arrested if he or
she is suspected of having committed one or more acts punishable by
law with imprisonment for a term exceeding six months. Torture is
defined as an act causing severe pain or suffering. Such acts will
fall within the ambit of section 228, subsection 2 (if not under sections
229 or 231). Reference is made to Norway's initial report (paragraphs
17-19) and the General Civil Penal Code (enclosed as annex 5). The
maximum penalty under section 228, subsection 2, is imprisonment for
three years. This means that the requirement that the act in question
must be punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding six months
will be satisfied when someone is suspected of having committed an
offence referred to in article 4.
to section 171 of the Criminal Procedure Act, however, arrest may
only take place when there is reason to fear that the suspect will
evade prosecution or execution of a sentence, when there is an immediate
risk that he will interfere with any evidence, or when detention is
necessary to prevent him from committing a new crime. Section 172
applies to serious cases where the person is suspected to have committed
a crime for which the maximum penalty is at least 10 years' imprisonment.
Under section 172, it is sufficient in order to arrest a person that
there are circumstances which strengthen the suspicion to a marked
if the law does not state that a person suspected of having committed
torture shall be arrested, there is little reason to fear that
such a person will not be arrested. According to section 184 of the
Criminal Procedure Act, remand in custody may be ordered if the conditions
prescribed in sections 171 and 172 are fulfilled.
26. In the
course of the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report,
the Chairman of the Committee also required additional information
in order to determine whether paragraph 21 of the report, relating
to the implementation of article 7 of the Convention, meant that persons
would be extradited or judged in Norway (see CAT/C/SR/122, para. 38).
27. A person
who with just cause is suspected of torture will be extradited if
there is a request for extradition and the requirements for extradition
set out in the Extradition Act are fulfilled. If not, he or she will
be prosecuted in Norway if the prosecution authority deems that the
evidence will lead to a conviction. If not, the case will be dismissed.
to Act No. 38 of 24 June 1994 on Implementation in Norwegian Law of
the United Nations Security Council Decisions to Establish International
Courts for Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, surrender may
take place to these international courts upon request. According to
the provisions of the Act, Norwegian courts and other authorities
will also, upon request, give these international courts legal assistance,
such as the identification and localization of persons, examination
of witnesses and experts, and arrest and detention of persons.
initial report (paragraph 24) and first supplementary report (paragraphs
22-23) still apply.
30. In the
course of the consideration of the first supplementary
Chairman asked whether article 8 was properly implemented (see CAT/C/SR/122,
para. 38). It should be noted that extradition from Norway can be
carried out even in the absence of an extradition agreement between
Norway and the requesting State. Reference is made to section 26,
subsection 3, in Act No. 39 of 13 June 1975 relating to Extradition:
"Extradition and other forms of legal assistance in criminal cases
may take place in pursuance of this Act, even if there is no obligation
to do so according to a treaty Norway has concluded with a foreign
State regarding the question." In accordance with article 8, acts
of torture will, as a general rule, be extraditable offences.
31. The extradition
agreements to which Norway is a party define the offences which constitute
grounds for extradition according to the minimum sentence of imprisonment.
to article 2 of the European Convention on Extradition, "Extradition
shall be granted in respect of offences punishable under the laws
of the requesting Party and of the requested Party by deprivation
of liberty or under a detention order for a maximum period of at least
one year or by a more severe penalty. Where a conviction and prison
sentence have occurred or a detention order has been made in the territory
of the requesting Party, the punishment awarded must have been for
a period of at least four months."
4 of an agreement on extradition made between Norway and Australia
reads as follows:
"For the purposes of
this Treaty, extraditable offences are offences however described
which are punishable under the laws of both Contracting Parties
by imprisonment or other deprivation of liberty for a period of
more than one year or by a more severe penalty. Where the request
for extradition relates to a person convicted of such an offence
who is wanted for the enforcement of a sentence of imprisonment
or other deprivation of liberty, extradition shall be granted
only if a penalty remains to be served."
34. The sentence
applicable to violations of section 228, subsection 2, of the General
Civil Penal Code (see Norway's initial report, paragraphs 18-19) is
imprisonment for a maximum of three or five years. According to section
229, the period of imprisonment is a maximum of three, six or eight
years. The minimum sentence of imprisonment in section 231 is two
years, whereas section 232 refers to the above-mentioned sections
regarding sentences. This implies that where a severe injury, e.g.
torture, is caused, it is an offence which qualifies for extradition.
is made to Norway's first supplementary report (paragraph 24), which
36. In the
course of the consideration of that report, the Chairman asked why
the word "can" was used in paragraph 25 of the report, as such wording
fell short of the obligations under the Convention, in which the word
"shall" is used (see CAT/C/SR.123, para. 15). As mentioned above,
the Norwegian delegation replied that assistance will be given
to a foreign State (in accordance with article 9) irrespective of
whether or not an agreement on mutual assistance has been concluded.
is made to Norway's first supplementary report (paragraphs 26-29),
which still applies.
38. In February
1995, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs appointed a committee
of experts to evaluate the conditions for coercive action related
to placement and detention in institutions pursuant to sections 4-24
and 4-26 of Act No. 100 of 17 July 1992 relating to Child Welfare
(enclosed as annex 10). One important objective for the committee
was to find new and more adequate ways of organizing and enhancing
the quality of treatment and education for young people with serious
behavioural problems. One of the main proposals presented by the committee
concerned more education and information for the personnel. The Ministry
of Children and Family Affairs is about to examine the proposals made
by the committee, and will decide whether the proposals should lead
to legislative amendments or other measures.
is made to Norway's initial report (paragraphs 27-28), and Norway's
first supplementary report (paragraphs 30-31), which still apply.
Reference is also made to article 16 below concerning child welfare
is made to Norway's first supplementary report (paragraphs 32-34),
which still applies. Reference is also made to paragraphs 5-7 above.
is made to Norway's initial report (paragraphs 31-32), and Norway's
first supplementary report (paragraphs 36-38), which still apply.
Reference is also made to paragraphs 6-11 above, concerning special
investigative bodies. The following may be added to this:
42. The Child
Welfare Act, section 6-3, states that a child may act as a party in
a case and claim rights as a party, provided that the child has attained
the age of 15 and understands the matters involved in the case. The
county welfare board may also grant children under the age of 15 rights
as a party in special cases. In cases involving measures for children
with behavioural problems, the child shall always be considered as
a party. The status of being a party in cases where a child is placed
in an institution gives the child the right to appeal and to have
the case promptly and impartially examined by the institution's competent
authorities, namely the child welfare services and the county social
43. In the
course of the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report,
the Norwegian delegation was asked about further information on the
office of Ombudsman, and asked what cases the Ombudsman dealt with
(see CAT/C/SR.122, para. 35).
44. The Parliamentary
Ombudsman is responsible for ensuring that the public administration
has not acted incorrectly or unjustly towards any citizen. He operates
primarily on the basis of complaints from the general public, but
he may also carry out investigations on his own initiative.
45. The Ombudsman
may investigate cases from all administrative sectors. He may, for
instance, investigate complaints against the police or prison administration.
The Ombudsman is entitled to express his opinion on matters which
come under the scope of his powers. He cannot make legally binding
decisions, but his opinions carry great weight. In the past few years,
the Ombudsman has been putting greater emphasis on the importance
of the international human rights obligations which are incumbent
upon Norwegian authorities when he investigates individual complaints
or conducts investigations on his own initiative.
as annex 11 is a summary in English of the Ombudsman's Annual Report
for 1995, which contains more detailed information about the work
of the Ombudsman, as well as a translation of Act No. 8 of 22 June
1962 concerning the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and the Directive to
the Ombudsman laid down by the Storting. Enclosed as annex 12 is also
a leaflet describing the procedure for addressing complaints to the
the submission of Norway's first supplementary report in 1992, the
Ombudsman has not rendered any statement in which the public authorities
have been criticized solely on the grounds that a person has been
exposed to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,
but such considerations have nevertheless been relevant in some cases.
Enclosed as annex 13 are summaries of two cases in which the Ombudsman
criticized the relevant authorities, one concerning a lack of medical
supervision for inmates (case 42/90), the other concerning submission
of negative urine samples as a condition for participation in daily
community life (case 92-1996).
to section 5 of the Act concerning the Ombudsman, he may also deal
with a matter on his own initiative. In 1996, the Ombudsman initiated
an investigation of a case concerning persons remanded in custody
in police cells. The case raised questions with regard to Norway's
treaty obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (article
3) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The investigation is soon to be
completed. Reference is made to paragraphs 63-66 below.
49. It appears
from comments made in the course of the consideration of Norway's
first supplementary report (see CAT/C/SR.122, para. 39) that Norway's
previous reports have not been sufficiently clear when describing
the law relating to compensation for victims of torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
50. It should
first be underlined that the compensation scheme which ensures that
all victims of violent crimes receive compensation from the State
for economic loss up to a certain amount is not the only remedy, nor
the most relevant, for a victim of torture. It will only come into
play if the State is not liable as the employer of the perpetrator,
pursuant to the provisions of chapter 2 of Act No. 26 of 13 June 1969
on Compensation for Damages, or according to unwritten rules of law.
Section 2-1, subsection 1, of the Compensation for Damage Act reads:
"An employer is liable
for damage caused wilfully or negligently during an employee's
execution of work or task for the employer, in that account is
taken of whether the demands the injured party may reasonably
make as regards the work or service are disregarded. Such liability
does not include damage which is due to the employee going beyond
what may reasonably be expected according to the kind of work
or field of work and the character of the work or task."
51. If (in
exceptional cases) the State should not be held liable pursuant to
the exception clause in the second sentence, liability will be established
if the State is to be blamed for not having established routines which
prevented the unlawful treatment. There is no economic limitation
on the liability of the State under this Act.
it should be pointed out that in Norway, necessary medical treatment
is free or almost free of charge. Thus, necessary medical treatment
will be provided for victims of torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
53. In the
course of the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report,
the Norwegian delegation stated that it would forward any documentation
published by the Psychosocial Centre (see CAT/C/SR.123, para. 10).
Enclosed as annex 6 is further information about the Centre. Annexes
7, 8 and 9 contain studies published by the Centre on the effects
of torture as experienced by a number of refugees, and on how the
refugees who are victims of torture are treated at the Centre.
54. In the
course of the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report,
the Chairman of the Committee, with reference to paragraph 41 of that
report, asked when testimony made during preliminary investigations
could be quoted at a trial, and stated that the fact that a judge
may decide to disregard a testimony made under duress was not enough
to satisfy the requirement in article 15 (see CAT/C/SR.122, para.
55. The Criminal
Procedure Act, section 290 (annex 4) prescribes when previous statements
made by the person who is indicted may be read out during the trial.
It reads as follows:
"Any reproduction in
a court record or a police report of any statement that the person
indicted has previously made in the case may only be read aloud
if it conflicts with his evidence during the main hearing or relates
to points he refuses to comment on or declares that he does not
remember, or if he does not attend the hearing. The same applies
to any written statement that he has previously made in relation
to the case."
56. The Criminal
Procedure Act does not contain any provisions which state that statements
which are established to have been made as a result of torture shall
not be invoked as evidence. This does not mean that the judge shall
accept such statements as evidence. The Supreme Court has stated:
"Even if evidence is not prohibited directly by a statutory provision,
there may be situations in which the prosecution authority cannot
be allowed to invoke the evidence". (Norwegian Law Gazette 1990, p.
1008). So far, the question of whether to allow as evidence a statement
made as a result of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
has not arisen. Taking into account that article 96 of the Constitution
explicitly prohibits the use of torture under interrogation, and the
principle that Norwegian law shall, if possible, be construed so as
to be in conformity with international conventions to which Norway
is a party, it is unthinkable that invocation of a statement which
is established to have been made as a result of torture or other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment would be allowed to be invoked.
is made to Norway's initial report (paragraphs 35-36), which still
applies. The following may be added thereto:
58. In 1996
the Storting passed a bill relating to the rights of, and restrictions
on and control of the use of coercion and force, etc. on certain mentally
retarded persons, as an amendment to the Acts relating to Social Services
and Municipal Health Services. This bill is incorporated as a new
chapter 6A in Act No. 81 of 13 December 1991 relating to Social Services,
which is enclosed as annex 14. Reference is also made to section 6-10
of the Act relating to Municipal Health Services, included in the
same annex. The rules are not aimed at any specific place, such as
an institution, but wherever health and/or social services are provided
(see section 6A-2, subsection 1). According to section 6A-3 any use
of power must be "professionally and ethically justifiable". There
are extensive rules concerning procedure, review and appeal (sections
6A-6-6A-9). An advisory group is also to be appointed. The task of
this group is to monitor the way the Act is applied in practice (section
to the Act relating to Social Services, punishment or treatment which
is degrading and violates a person's integrity, is not permitted (section
6A-3, last subsection). The bill to the Storting (Proposition No.
57 1995-96 to the Odelsting) concerning the above-mentioned amendment
to the Act relating to Social Services includes an appraisal of the
bill in relation to human rights, particularly the European Convention
on Human Rights. According to the Proposition, acts in violation of
article 3, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment, would also be contrary to the Act.
60. The Child
Welfare Act, which entered into force on 1 January 1993, regulates
the activities of the child welfare services, which carry out various
measures such as providing relief, supervision and counselling. The
primary objective of the Child Welfare Act is to ensure that children
living in detrimental conditions receive the necessary assistance
at the right time.
61. The authority
to make decisions pursuant to the Child Welfare Act has been delegated
to an independent county social welfare board. The county welfare
boards have the competence to make decisions in cases involving, inter
alia, the possible withdrawal of parental responsibility for a
child, or in other cases involving the use of coercive measures. The
decisions of the county social welfare boards may be brought before
a court for judicial review. The measures mentioned under the competence
of the social welfare board may be used in cases concerning sexual
exploitation of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
When applying measures under the Child Welfare Act, crucial importance
shall be attached to the best interests of the child.
62. The main
responsibility for child welfare policy lies with the Ministry of
Children and Family Affairs. According to the Child Welfare Act, section
5-6, the county governor in each of Norway's 19 counties is the competent
authority. His or her duties include supervision, counselling and
guidance of institutions in which the children are placed. According
to section 4-16, the child welfare services in each municipality shall
closely follow the development of a child placed in an institution.
At the end of 1990, 940 children lived in child-care institutions,
whereas the number in 1994 was 510.
and police custody
63. The figures
below show the extent to which the most severe coercive and disciplinary
measures are used in Norwegian prisons:
(number of times)
(number of times)
(number of times)
|| 1 003
(figures not yet available)
64. The use
of security cells and security beds are in most cases limited to a
period of time less than 24 hours. Solitary confinement usually lasts
65. Due to
necessary renovation of the Oslo County Prison (Oslo kretsfengsel)
in 1996, 87 custody cells were temporarily closed down. In the meantime
cells intended for persons remanded in police custody had to be used
as regular custody cells. Special arrangements were made in order
to create suitable conditions in the cells: beds were brought in,
the inmates were given the opportunity to take daily showers, and
they were allowed to leave the cells as in a regular custody ward
in a prison. However, the conditions in the police custody cells were
not as good as in a prison custody ward, and the situation of the
inmates was heavily criticized in the media.
66. The Prison
Board made various attempts to remedy the situation, and the developments
in the case were under constant surveillance. In particular, it was
important to make sure that the inmates who had been in police custody
cells for the longest time were the first to be transferred to cells
in prison custody wards when such cells were available. In a coming
report to the Storting on the future care and confinement of criminals,
the capacity problems in Norwegian prisons will be further assessed.
services for persons held in custody at the Oslo Police Headquarters
67. As mentioned
in paragraph 5 above, the European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture (CPT) visited Norway in 1993. In its report, the Committee
criticized the health conditions of persons held in custody at the
Oslo Police Headquarters. In June 1995 the Ministry of Justice appointed
a working group whose mandate was to study and report on the need
for health services for persons held in custody at Oslo Police Headquarters.
68. The criticism
mainly referred to the absence of any organized health service at
Police Headquarters. This does not, however, mean that health facilities
are not available to persons held in custody. As far as possible,
steps are taken to ensure that detainees receive medical attention
and treatment. According to current health regulations, a patient
has a right to be examined by a doctor of his or her choice. These
regulations also apply to detained persons. It should be noted that
medical services, both at Police Headquarters and in prisons, are
run independently of the police and prisons.
69. The above-mentioned
working group has recently submitted its recommendations. Its main
recommendation concerns the establishment of an organized health service
staffed by nurses, and a doctor with medical responsibility. A further
recommendation concerns alterations to the detention premises based
on advice given and rules issued by the Norwegian Board of Health.
These recommendations are presently being considered by the Ministry
of Justice and Police.
of asylum seekers
to section 37, subsection 5, of the Immigration Act, a foreign national
may be arrested and remanded in custody in accordance with the procedure
described in section 174 et seq. of the Criminal Procedure Act, if
there is reason to suspect that he or she has given a false name.
The total period of remand in custody may not exceed 12 weeks, unless
there are special grounds which justify a longer remand. Custody may
not be used if it would be a disproportionately severe reaction against
the foreign national. According to section 37, subsection 5, of the
Immigration Act, the court shall try the use of custody.
to section 41, subsection 3, of the Immigration Act, a foreign national
may be arrested and remanded in custody in accordance with the procedure
in section 175 et seq. of the Criminal Procedure Act to ensure that
it shall be possible to implement a decision. Custody may be imposed
for a maximum period of two weeks. The time limit may only be extended
if the foreign national does not voluntarily leave the realm and it
is highly probable that otherwise the foreign national will evade
the implementation of a decision of expulsion. In such cases the time
limit may be extended for a maximum of two weeks, but not more than
72. The court
appoints a legal representative when it tries the question of custody
pursuant to section 37, subsection 3, of the Immigration Act. All
asylum seekers in detention receive an explanation of the reasons
for their detention by the police and their legal representative.
The asylum seekers are also informed about their rights and given
an effective opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.
73. The Ministry
of Justice continuously evaluates the practice of section 37, subsection
5, of the Immigration Act.
is a continual influx to Norway of asylum seekers whose identity has
not been established. Reports from the police show that detention
is infrequently used in such cases.
II. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE COMMITTEE
the consideration of Norway's first supplementary report, the Committee
concluded that the relationship between international law, in particular,
the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, and Norwegian law constituted a problem.
The Committee recommended that Norway should include a definition
of torture in its domestic law and that it should explicitly characterize
torture as a crime, or make the Convention part of Norwegian domestic
law (see CAT/C/SR.123, paras. 26 and 27).
of human rights conventions in Norway
76. A committee
set up in 1989 to suggest how to incorporate certain human rights
conventions into domestic law submitted its report, NOU 1993:18, in
May 1993. A copy of chapter 16 of the report, which contains an English
summary, is enclosed as annex 15. The committee suggested that a new
constitutional provision as well as an act relating to human rights
should be adopted. The constitutional provision should state the duty
of the public authorities to respect and secure human rights, and
declare that further provisions concerning the implementation of human
rights conventions should be laid down by statute. The "Human Rights
Act" should state that the two International Covenants on Human Rights
and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms, with protocols, should apply as statutory law.
The committee regarded these conventions as core instruments of the
international and regional protection of human rights. It was of the
opinion that, at least for the time being, it would be wise to limit
the incorporation to these conventions. One important reason was that
it would be difficult to draw a line between conventions which ought
to be incorporated and other conventions if more conventions were
to be incorporated. A number of institutions and organizations which
were asked to give their views supported these suggestions.
77. A constitutional
provision as suggested by the committee was adopted by the Storting
on 15 July 1994, and inserted into the Constitution as article 110
C. The provision reads: "It is the responsibility of the authorities
of the State to respect and secure human rights. Specific provisions
concerning the implementation of treaties pertaining thereto shall
be laid down by law."
78. A bill
on human rights in line with the draft presented by the committee
is presently being prepared. The bill is scheduled to be presented
in the spring of 1997. If the Human Rights Act were to incorporate
a wider range of human rights instruments, the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
would certainly be among them. However, even if the Convention were
to be incorporated directly into Norwegian law, its provisions concerning
the crimes in question are not specific enough regarding punishment
to be an independent basis for conviction. Article 96 of the Constitution
lays down that in order to have a person convicted, there must be
a statutory provision which states that the act in question (e.g.
torture) is prohibited and which sets out the penalty for such acts.
The Convention would therefore not be a substitute for such a provision
even if it was given the status of law.
of the forthcoming Human Rights Act, human rights instruments have
been invoked and considered by the courts in an increasing number
of cases during the present decade. However, the Government is not
aware of any court cases in which the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has been
80. The Norwegian
Government has taken due note of the Committee's recommendation that
Norway should include a definition of torture in its domestic law
and that it should explicitly characterize torture as a crime.
81. The General
Civil Penal Code is presently being redrafted by a committee appointed
by the Government (Straffelovkommisjonen). The committee intends
to submit its report, containing a new draft General Civil Penal Code,
in 1999. The chairman of the committee has been made aware of the
into account the numerous provisions in the Penal Code which pertain
to acts which cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering, it
is highly unthinkable that an act of torture will not be considered
a crime under the present General Civil Penal Code, whether committed
abroad or within Norway, even without a provision which explicitly
characterizes torture as a crime.
is an act which causes severe pain or suffering (article 1). If the
pain or suffering is physical, at least section 228 of the
Penal Code (see Norway's initial report, paras. 18-19) will apply,
and often one of the more severe provisions of chapter 21 or 22 of
the Penal Code (for instance section 229 or 231) will be applicable
(see annex 5). In the case of mental torture, section 229 of
the Penal Code, sometimes in connection with section 232, will be
applicable if the victim's health is injured or if he or she is reduced
to helplessness, unconsciousness or any similar state. The victim's
health will be considered injured if he or she has to stay in bed
or becomes unable to work for some days. An anxiety neurosis will,
for instance, be considered a health injury. If the victim suffers
serious injury to his or her health, section 231 is applicable. Serious
injury is defined in section 9. It includes loss or substantial impairment
of sight, hearing, speech or reproductive capacity, disability, inability
to continue work, serious disfigurement, deadly or protracted disease
and serious mental injury. The penalty for an offence against section
231 is imprisonment from 2 to 15 years.
84. In Norway's
initial report, it was also pointed out that sections 222 and 223
of the General Civil Penal Code, relating to coercion and unlawful
deprivation of liberty, may be applicable in cases of torture (initial
report, para. 20). This applies also if the suffering is mental. In
addition, it should be noted that if the perpetrator is a public servant,
section 115 penalizes the use of unlawful means in order to secure
a certain explanation or a confession. Section 117 makes it a crime
for a public servant to unlawfully make a sentence more severe than
it should be, for instance by denying the detainee rights that he
is entitled to.
85. A crime
dealt with in sections 228, 229 or 231 of the General Civil Penal
Code can be prosecuted in Norway, even if the crime has been committed
abroad, and regardless of whether the perpetrator is a Norwegian or
a foreign national (see section 12, No. 3 a) and No. 4 a)).
List of annexes*
1. CPT (94)
1: Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
(CPT) to the Norwegian Government on its visit to Norway.
(94) 12: The Norwegian Government's response to CPT.
D EBJ/kmr: The Norwegian report on action taken by the authorities
to implement the CPT's recommendations.
14 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Civil Penal Code.
about the Psychosocial Centre.
from the Centre: Mental Disorder among Refugees and the Impact of
Persecution and Exile: Some Findings from an Out-Patient Population.
from the Centre: A Field Report: A Refugee Protest Action in a Host
Country: Possibilities and Limitations of an Intervention by a Mental
from the Centre: A Clinical Approach to Human Rights Violations.
10. Act No.
100 of 17 July 1992 relating to Child Welfare.
11. A summary
of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's Annual Report for 1995.
12. A leaflet
describing the procedure for addressing complaints to the Parliamentary
of two cases where the authorities have been criticized by the Parliamentary
14. Act relating
to Social Services, chapter 6A, and Act relating to Municipal Health
16 of the report NOU 1993:18 concerning the status of human rights
conventions in Norway.
annexes are available for consultation in the files of the United
Nations Centre for Human Rights.