University of Minnesota

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Russian Federation, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/RUS/CO/4 (2007).


Thirty-seventh session
6-24 November 2006


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture



A.  Introduction

 The entry into force between 1 July 2002 and 1 January 2004 of the new Code of Criminal Procedure adopted in December 2001, which, inter alia, introduces jury trials, stricter limits on detention and interrogation, provisions for exclusion of evidence obtained in absence of a defence lawyer, and authorizes a judge rather than a procurator to order an arrest, as well as limiting to 48 hours the time a criminal suspect can be held in detention;








C.  Subjects of concern and recommendations





The State party should take measures to bring its definition of torture into full conformity with article 1 of the Convention, in particular to ensure that police, army, as well as prosecutorial officials, can be prosecuted under article 302 as well as under article 117 of the Criminal Code.

Safeguards for detainees






The State party should ensure the implementation in practice of the right to access a lawyer and other guarantees of protection from torture starting from the moment of actual deprivation of liberty at the request of the detainee and not solely at the request of a public official. 


The State party should ensure that criminal suspects are afforded their rights and procedural guarantees so that they are not arbitrarily detained on administrative charges.

Widespread use of torture





The State party should ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and the prosecution and punishment of those found responsible, as well as the protection of complainants and witnesses of torture.

The State party should consider setting up a national system to review all places of detention and cases of alleged abuses of persons while in custody, ensuring regular, independent, unannounced and unrestricted visits to all places of detention.  To that end, the State party should establish transparent administrative guidelines and criteria for access, and facilitate visits by independent monitors, such as independent non-governmental organizations.

The State party should finalize and adopt the draft federal Law No. 11807-3, which was adopted by the State Duma on first reading in September 2003 and is now in preparation for a second reading. 

The State party should take appropriate measures to eliminate any adverse effect that the current law-enforcement promotion system may have on the prevalent use of torture and ill-treatment.





The State party should apply a zero-tolerance approach to the continuing problem of dedovshchina in the armed forces, take immediate measures of prevention and ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigation and prosecution of such abuses. 

The State party should ensure the protection of victims and witnesses of violence in the armed forces and establish a rehabilitation programme, including appropriate medical and psychological assistance, for victims.


Violence against women and children, including trafficking





The State party should ensure the protection of women in places of detention, and the establishment of clear procedures for complaints as well as mechanisms for monitoring and oversight. 


The State party should ensure protection of women by adopting specific legislative and other measures to address domestic violence, providing for protection of victims, access to medical, social and legal services and temporary accommodation and for perpetrators to be held accountable.


The State party should strengthen measures to prevent and combat the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. 


The State party should continue its efforts to ensure effective implementation of anti-trafficking legislation.  The State party should adopt the proposed legislative amendments as well as the draft act “On Counteracting the Trafficking of People” to ensure more effective protection of victims and the prosecution of traffickers. 


Investigations and impunity


As a matter of priority, the State party should pursue efforts to reform the Procuracy, in particular by amending the current federal Law on the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure its independence and impartiality as well as to separate the function of criminal prosecution from the function of supervision of preliminary investigations into allegations of torture.  The State party should establish effective and independent oversight mechanisms to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all reported allegations, and legal prosecution or punishment of those found guilty.

Independence of the judiciary




The State party should reform the system of selection of jurors to ensure that the participation of such persons in juries is banned and to exclude any possibility for arbitrary selection, which could undermine their neutrality and impartiality.  The State party should continue its efforts to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, in particular in relation to the security of tenure of judges.

Juvenile justice system


   The State party should pursue the reforms of the juvenile justice system and adopt the draft federal law “On the foundations of a juvenile system”, which, inter alia, provides for the creation of juvenile courts. 

Asylum, non-refoulement and extradition




The State party should ensure that no person is expelled, returned or extradited to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that he/she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. 


       The State party should further clarify the violations of immigration rules which may result in administrative expulsion and establish clear procedures to ensure they are implemented fairly.  The State party should ensure compliance with the requirements of article 3 of the Convention for an independent, impartial and effective administrative or judicial review of the decision to expel.


The State party should issue identity documents to all asylum seekers at the outset of the asylum process, including at Sheremetyevo 2 airport.



The State party should provide the Committee with detailed statistical information on the number of assurances sought for the period since 2002, the persons concerned and the outcome of each case, as well as on minimum contents for any assurances. The State party should moreover establish and implement clear procedures for obtaining such assurances, adequate judicial mechanisms for review, as well as effective post-return monitoring mechanisms. 

Detention and places of deprivation of liberty




(c)The situation of inadequate health care provided to persons in pre-trial detention centres and prison colonies. 


   The Committee encourages the State party to implement the Strategic framework for the development of the penitentiary system, which was adopted in September 2006, and to continue its efforts to address the problem of overcrowding in penal institutions and to improve conditions in prisons, including juvenile detention centres and pre-trial detention facilities, to ensure their conformity with the requirements of the Convention.

   The State party should establish mandatory limits on pre-trial detention during judicial proceedings.

   The State party should consider the establishment of a health service independent from the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice to conduct examinations of detainees upon arrest and release, routinely and at their request, alone or together with an appropriate independent body with forensic expertise, so that serious medical cases, particularly deaths in custody, are examined by impartial experts and results are made available to relatives of the deceased.


The State party should further develop outpatient services to reduce the problem of overcrowded psychiatric hospitals and reduce the time of hospitalization as well as take appropriate measures to improve the living conditions in inpatient institutions, for all patients, including children.



(a)        The absence of training to detect signs of torture and ill-treatment for medical personnel in general and for personnel at temporary police detention facilities, in particular;


(b) The insufficient level of practical training regarding the obligations under the Convention for law enforcement personnel, judges as well as the military.


The State party should ensure practical training for doctors to detect signs of torture and ill-treatment of persons in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol, as well as for prosecutorial and military personnel in relation to the State party’s obligations under the Convention. 

The State party should further expand existing training programmes, including with non-governmental organizations, in the sphere of training of law enforcement and penitentiary personnel.

Compensation and rehabilitation of victims of torture


The State party should revise the current procedure of compensation, to bring it in line with constitutional requirements and obligations under article 14 of the Convention, ensuring that appropriate compensation is provided to victims of torture.  The State party should ensure that appropriate medical and psychological assistance is also provided to victims of torture and ill-treatment.

Use of evidence obtained through torture


The State party should adopt clear legal provisions prescribing the measures to be taken by courts should evidence appear to have been obtained through torture or ill-treatment, in order to ensure in practice the absolute respect for the principle of inadmissibility of evidence obtained through torture, except against a person accused of torture, as required by article 15 of the Convention.

Violent attacks on human rights defenders




The State party should take effective steps to ensure that all persons monitoring and reporting torture or ill-treatment are protected from intimidation and from any unfavourable consequences they might suffer as a result of making such a report, and ensure the prompt, impartial and effective investigation and punishment of such acts.

   The State party should ensure that the applicability of the new law is clearly defined and that the State’s discretion to interfere in NGO activities is limited, and therefore, amend legislation governing the activities of non-governmental organizations to ensure its actual conformity with international human rights standards on the protection of human rights defenders, including the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders , as well as with best practices internationally.


Violent attacks because of race, ethnicity or identity of the victim



  The State party should ensure that all officials are instructed that racist or discriminatory attitudes will not be permitted or tolerated and that any official who is complicit in such attacks will be prosecuted and suspended from his/her post pending resolution of the case or, if there is a danger of recurrence, transferred to a post which does not enable him/her to come into direct contact with potential victims.  The State party should ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all such acts of violence.


The situation in the Chechen Republic









The State party should ensure that no one is detained in any unofficial place of detention under its de facto effective control.  The State party should investigate and disclose the existence of any such facilities and the authority under which they have been established and the manner in which detainees are treated. The State party should publicly condemn any resort to secret detention and prosecute anyone engaged in or complicit in this practice.


The State party should take all necessary measures to prohibit and prevent abductions and enforced disappearances in any territory under its jurisdiction, and prosecute and punish the perpetrators.


The State Party should ensure effective use of joint investigative groups including representatives of both military and civil (territorial) Office of the Public Prosecutor until such time as the competence and jurisdiction of any case can be determined and ensure the right to fair trial to all suspects.


        The State party should conduct a thorough and independent inquiry into the methods used in holding facilities in ORB-2 when questioning prisoners.                                                             

        The State party should conduct prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in these and other facilities, including examination of medical reports supplied to court cases documenting mistreatment, and ensure that persons responsible are subject to prosecution with appropriate sanctions.


        Reiterating its previous recommendation, the State party should clarify the applicable legal regime that currently prevails in the Chechen Republic, as there is no state of exception and there is also a non-international armed conflict in progress. Such clarification could provide individuals with an effective means of seeking redress for any violations committed, so that they will not be caught in a vicious circle of various military and civilian departments and agencies with differing degrees of responsibility


        The State party should ensure that any counter-terrorism measures taken with regard to the Chechen Republic and any other territory under its jurisdiction, remain in full conformity with the Convention’s prohibitions against torture and ill-treatment.


        The State party should establish safeguards against reprisals in order to protect all complainants, including, inter alia, those who submit cases on torture or disappearances to the European Court of Human Rights or under article 22 of the Convention.










The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Eleventh edition) defines the verb “to haze” as follows:  [ N.Amer.] “ torment or harass (a new student or recruit) by subjection to strenuous, humiliating, or dangerous tasks”.

Full title: Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


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