COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
159. The Committee considered the initial report of Jordan (CAT/C/16/Add.5)
at its 218th and 219th meetings, held on 1 May 1995 (CAT/C/SR.218
and 219), and has adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
160. The Committee thanks the Government of Jordan for its report,
which was due in 1992, for the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.18/Rev.1)
providing general information on the State party and for the comprehensive
explanations presented by the delegation.
161. It notes that the report is not in full conformity with the
guidelines established by the Committee (CAT/C/4/Rev.2). It also
notes that the report does not contain sufficient information on
the effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention.
162. However, the presence of a high-level delegation which provided
additional information enabled the Committee to obtain a better
understanding of the situation in Jordan with regard to the application
of the Convention on its territory.
163. The Committee welcomes the positive steps undertaken by the
Government of Jordan towards the application of the Convention,
especially the lifting of the state of emergency and the abolition
of martial law in April 1992, the release of political prisoners
and the institution of the right to appeal fully against awards
and decisions of the State Security Court in questions of both fact
164. The Committee notes also with satisfaction the new Political
Parties Act of October 1992, the new law on press and publications,
the ratification by Jordan of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the creation of a national commission for human rights and
the establishment in Jordan of sections of the Arab Organization
for Human Rights and Amnesty International, which illustrate the
positive steps and trend towards the promotion of human rights in
general and towards the implementation of the Convention against
Torture, in particular.
165. The Committee notes that the Jordanian Constitution does not
contain specific provisions as to the relationship between international
conventions and domestic laws. Accordingly, there is a need to incorporate
the Convention in the legal system of Jordan to ensure its correct
and prompt application.
166. The Committee is concerned that the definition of the act of
torture as specified by article 1 of the Convention is not incorporated
in Jordanian legislation. Current Jordanian criminal law does not
cover all cases of torture and ill treatment, as provided for in
167. The Committee is deeply concerned that a number of allegations
of torture have been made since Jordan acceded to the Convention.
Such allegations appear to be rarely subjected to independent and
partial investigations. The Committee is further concerned that
during 1993 and 1994 political detainees were sentenced to death
or imprisonment in trials before the State Security Court on the
basis of confessions allegedly extracted after torture.
168. The Committee regrets that the headquarters of the General
Intelligence Department has been recognized as an official prison,
that the armed forces officers are granted the capacity of public
prosecutors, that they have the capacity of detaining suspects incommunicado,
whether military persons or civilians, until the end of their interrogation
for periods of up to six months, and that detainees are deprived
of access to judges, lawyers or doctors.
169. The Committee expresses concern about the continuing application
of the death penalty, as well as corporal punishment, which could
constitute in itself a violation in terms of the Convention.
170. The Committee is also concerned that there are allegations
that individuals have been expelled from Jordan to countries where
there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be in
danger of being subjected to torture in contravention of article
3 of the Convention.
171. The Committee notes that there does not seem to be in the State
party any comprehensive programme of education for members of the
police and security forces, dealing with Jordan's obligations under
the Convention. Similarly, no specific educational programmes for
medical personnel appears to be in place. These programmes would
be useful, in particular given the fact that so many refugees from
other countries are located in Jordan.
172. The Committee recommends that the State party review its position
concerning articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
173. The Committee expects the State party to undertake the necessary
legal measures to ensure the incorporation of the Convention in
national legislation and to ensure its prompt and effective application.
174. The Committee urges the State party to consider making torture
a specific criminal offence. In addition, it suggests that the State
party further strengthen measures to protect the rights of detainees,
especially their access to judges, lawyers and doctors of their
choice. It also recommends that the State party promptly investigate
allegations of torture and ill treatment and ensure that appropriate
penalties are applied whenever such offences are committed; prevent
the commission of such acts through efforts to ensure the stricter
observance of regulations relating to the treatment of detainees
and offenders; and reduce the length of preventive detention, taking
into account its principle of presumption of innocence and the complexity
175. The Committee expects the Jordanian authorities to consider
abolishing exceptional courts such as the State security courts
and allow the ordinary judiciary to recover full criminal jurisdiction
in the country.
176. The Committee expects that the detention and interrogation
functions will be separated and that the supervision of any detention
centre will be effectively carried out by officials rather than
those who are in charge of the detention centres.
177. The Committee expects Jordan to review its policy relating
to corporal punishment.
178. The authorities should follow procedures which would effectively
ensure that no one is expelled to a country where there are substantial
grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected
179. The Committee expects also that educational programmes will
be started as a matter of urgency for law enforcement and medical
personnel, focusing on the obligations laid down in the Convention
and on how evidence of torture may be recognized. In the case of
medical personnel, such educational programmes should include methods
for the rehabilitation of victims of torture.
180. The Committee stresses that further measures should be taken
to ensure that the provisions of the Convention are made more widely
known to the public.
181. The Committee recommends that the Jordanian authorities ensure
that the report submitted by the State party and the comments of
the Committee are disseminated as widely as possible in order to
encourage the involvement of all sectors of society concerned in
the implementation of human rights.
182. The Committee would appreciate receiving in the next report
information on these matters, as well as replies to the questions
raised by the Committee which have remained unanswered.