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Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Cyprus,
U.N. Doc. A/49/44, paras. 118-127 (1993).




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:

A. Introduction

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 information provided.

B. Positive aspects

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.

C. Factors 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 anywhere.

D. Subjects of concern

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.

E. Recommendations

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.


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