Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Zambia,
U.N. Doc. CAT/C/XXVII/Concl.4 (2001).
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
12-23 November 2001
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture
1. The Committee considered the initial report of Zambia (CAT/C/47/Add.2) at its 494th and 497th meetings, held on 19 and 20 November 2001 (CAT/C/SR/494 and 497) and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
2. The Committee welcomes the report of Zambia and expresses appreciation for its frank and thorough approach. The Committee also welcomes the candid and comprehensive responses, of the high level delegation, to the questions raised during the dialogue.
3. The Committee notes, with satisfaction, the following elements,
a) The State party's withdrawal of its reservation made with respect to article 20 of the Convention;
b) The State party's commitment to:
i. Introduce a crime of torture in accordance with article 4 of the Convention,
ii. Proceed urgently with appropriate legislation and other measures to ensure the incorporation of the Convention into domestic law,
iii. Ensure the exclusion of confessions obtained by torture and look into the issue of derivative evidence,
iv. Make a declaration with respect to articles 21 and 22 of the Convention, and
v. Remove the function of prosecution from the police to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP);
c) The enactment of the Zambia Police (Amendment) Act (No. 14 of 1999) which provides measures to protect and monitor persons in police custody;
d) The implementation of a Juvenile Justice Administration Transformation Scheme which aims to improve the handling of juveniles within the criminal justice system;
e) The legal prohibition of corporal punishment; and
f) The creation of the Human Rights Commission.
Factors and difficulties Impeding the application of the Convention
4. The Committee recognises the difficulties that the State party experienced in the political transition toward a democratic system of governance. It is similarly aware of the significant financial and technical constraints that the State party faces.
Subjects of concern
5. The Committee expresses concern about the continued allegations of widespread use of torture together with the apparent impunity enjoyed by its perpetrators.
6. The Committee notes with concern that the State party has neither incorporated the Convention into its legislation nor introduced corresponding provisions in respect of several articles, in particular the:
a) Definition of torture (article 1),
b) Criminalisation of torture (article 4),
c) Prohibition of cruel punishment in the penal system (article 16),
d) Recognition of torture as an extraditable offence (article 8),
e) Systematic review of interrogation rules (article 11), and
f) Jurisdiction over acts of torture, including those committed abroad (article 5).
7. Concern is also expressed regarding the:
a) Delay in investigating allegations of torture and in bringing suspects to timely trial;
b) Poor prison conditions that affect the health of both inmates and wardens, in particular the lack of health care staff and medicines as well as serious overcrowding;
c) Incidence of violence against women in society, which is illustrated by reported incidents of violence in prisons and domestic violence.
8. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake the following:
a) Incorporate the Convention into its legal system;
b) Adopt a definition of torture which is fully in keeping with article 1 of the Convention and provides for appropriate penalties;
c) Take appropriate measures to ensure jurisdiction over crimes of torture, wherever they may occur;
d) Undertake legal and other measures to address impunity and ensure that acts of torture are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that complainants have access to legal advice as necessary;
e) Undertake legal and other measures to ensure the systematic review of interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices;
f) Strengthen training and educational programmes for law enforcement personnel on the prohibition of torture;
g) Establish rehabilitation centres for victims of torture;
h) Establish programmes to prevent and combat violence against women, including domestic violence; and
i) Ensure the early and effective operation of the Police Public Complaints Authority.
9. While welcoming the Prisons (Amendment) Act which provides for the establishment of Open Air Prisons, the Committee urges the State party to enhance initiatives to reduce overcrowding, increase the use of non-custodial sentences, and generally improve detention facilities, especially because of the adverse effects on the health of inmates and prison