CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
118. The Committee considered the initial report of Cyprus (CAT/C/9/Add.15)
at its 168th and 169th meetings, held on 17 November 1993 (see CAT/C/SR.168
and 169), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:
119. The report was due on 16 August 1992 and was received on 23 June
1993. In all respects the report meets the guidelines of the Committee
and the Committee compliments Cyprus on the comprehensive and detailed
120. The Committee feels that Cyprus has a very advanced legislative
and administrative scheme for the implementation of human rights values
contained in international instruments.
121. In this regard the Committee notes with satisfaction the proposed
amendment to the Ombudsman's jurisdiction granting him clear authority
to investigate and report on human rights violations.
122. Legal protection of basic rights is also apparent in the constitutional
provisions of Cyprus.
and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention
123. There seem to be no structural or legal impediments to full implementation
of the Convention. On the contrary, the legal, legislative, and administrative
framework is most comprehensive and probably as good as the most advanced
124. Casual brutality by police officers has been reported, particularly
at Limassol Police Station.
125. This may reveal a lack of professionalism which if not dealt with
strictly could, in a small country with a fairly homogeneous culture,
take a firm hold on police practices.
126. The Committee notes though, the response of the authorities in
prosecuting two officers on charges of torture and the decision of President
Clerides to ask the Council of Ministers to set up a Commission of Inquiry
into the reported draft conclusions of the European Committee for the
Prevention of Torture. The Committee notes also that this Commission
of Inquiry has been set up and is engaged in its inquiries.
127. The legal and administrative constructs in Cyprus need no changes.
But recommendations can be made:
(a) When complaints committees are set up to examine questions of police
brutality that may contravene the Convention against Torture a great
effort should be made to ensure that their composition cannot be criticized
on the basis of real or perceived partiality;
(b) It is sometimes very difficult for small, homogeneous States to
change institutional attitudes and practices without creating the risk
of a strong reaction. Very often it is useful to utilize an external
agency for this catalytic role. Quite obviously, not only do the police
need to be disciplined and prosecuted for any unlawful conduct, but
a real attempt must be made to properly internalize their attitudes
towards the human rights values that they must respect in their everyday
activities. In this regard, as well as with respect to the emphasis
in their police training, the programme of advisory services and technical
assistance of the Centre for Human Rights is ready to assist in the
educational and re-educational mission. A joint initiative between that
programme and the Government of Cyprus, with appropriate attendant publicity,
may go some way towards affecting police attitudes;
(c) The requirement of reciprocity in Conventions, even in the limited
sense that the representative of Cyprus offered in his answer to the
Committee, is somewhat cryptic; this could be re-examined and clarified
in the periodic report;
(d) The Committee also likes to receive answers to its unanswered questions;
(e) The Committee wishes to express its appreciation to Cyprus for its
comprehensive report and its obvious willingness to deal with the questions
raised by the members of the Committee.