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Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Croatia, U.N. Doc. A/51/44, paras. 151-162 (1996).



Convention Abbreviation: CAT


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

I. Croatia

151. The Committee considered the initial report of Croatia (CAT/C/16/Add.6) at its 253rd and 254th meetings, on 6 May 1996 (CAT/C/SR.253 and 254), and has adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:

1. Introduction
152. The Committee welcomes the report of the Government of Croatia as well as its core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.32). The initial report of Croatia dated 4 January 1996 was due on 7 October 1992, but the events of insecurity in Croatia from 1991 explain why this report is late.

153. The initial report of Croatia and the core document follow the Committee's guidelines and meet them satisfactorily.

154. The Committee also thanks the representatives of the State party for their introductory remarks.

2. Positive aspects
155. The constitutional and other legal safeguards against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are particularly well-developed.

156. The commitment of Croatia to human rights is reflected in the State party's adherence to various international human rights treaties. It is particularly noteworthy that Croatia has not expressed reservation to article 20 and has declared in favour of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.

157. The fact that the Government of Croatia has undertaken investigation and prosecution in cases of alleged torture and maltreatment arising out of the events of 1995 and its aftermath is noted with satisfaction.

158. The support of Croatia for the rehabilitation of the victims of the violence that took place there between 1991 and the end of 1995 is another matter of satisfaction to the Committee.

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

159. The Committee takes note of the following:

(a) The situation of insecurity and loss of civil oversight over parts of Croatia between 1991 and the end of 1995;

(b) The social and economic consequences of the events referred to in paragraph 1 of the initial report, together with the costs of reconstruction and reintegration of large portions of the population into the wider society;

(c) The refocusing of social attitudes onto human rights rather than onto State rights, in a country where for 45 years the opposite was the norm.

4. Subjects of concern
160. The Committee is concerned about the information on serious breaches of the Convention received from reliable non-governmental organizations, indicating that in the wave of the events of 1995 and its aftermath, serious acts of torture were perpetrated by Croatian officials, particularly upon the Serb minority.

161. The Committee also notes that there is no defined crime of torture in the domestic law of Croatia.

5. Recommendations
162. The Committee recommends to the State party the following:

(a) That Croatia enact a crime of torture in terms consistent with article 1 of the Convention;

(b) That Croatia ensure that all allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment arising out of the events of 1995 and its aftermath, be rigorously investigated by an impartial, independent commission and the results be reported back to the Committee;

(c) That in the second periodic report a detailed account of the way in which Croatia complies with the provisions of article 3 of the Convention be included;

(d) That a vigorous programme of education of police, as well as prison, medical, prosecution and judicial personnel be undertaken to ensure that they understand their obligations pursuant to the relationship between the domestic law of Croatia and the international human rights regime to which Croatia has adhered;

(e) The Committee urges Croatia to continue to cooperate with the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 to ensure that alleged war criminals within its jurisdiction are brought to justice pursuant to the Dayton peace accord;

(f) Individual claims of violations of the constitutional rights of defendants in pre-trial detention should be justiciable by an effective judicial authority;

(g) That Croatia's police and judicial authorities pay special attention to the implementation of the existing legal guarantees against torture of a constitutional and procedural nature.


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