CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Third periodic reports of States parties due in 1996
SWEDEN *[9 August
* For the initial report of Sweden, see CAT/C/5/Add.1; for its consideration,
see CAT/C/SR.10 and 11 and Official Records of the General Assembly,
Forty-fourth session, Supplement No. 46 (A/44/46), paragraphs
39-75. For the second periodic report, see CAT/C/17/Add.9; for its
consideration, see CAT/C/SR.143, 144, 144/Add.2 and Official
Records of the General Assembly, Forty-eighth session, Supplement
No. 44 (A/48/44), paragraphs 365-386.
1. The Swedish Government submitted its initial report in October
1988 (CAT/C/5/Add.1) and its second periodic report in September
1992 (CAT/C/17/Add.9) pursuant to article 19 of the Convention against
Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
2. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment visited Sweden from 5 to 14
May 1991 (as reported in the second periodic report, para. 2) and
from 23 to 26 August 1994. The Committee's reports include recommendations,
comments and requests for information. However, no allegations or
indications of torture are mentioned in the reports. The reports
have been made public.
I. INFORMATION ON NEW MEASURES AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
information provided in Sweden's initial and second periodic reports
still applies with reference to articles 1-2, 6-7, 9 and 11-15 of
the Convention (paras. 19-26, 50-73 and 79-100 of the initial report
and paras. 3 and 7 of the second periodic report).
information supplied in the initial report (paras. 4-6) concerning
Sweden's policy of non-refoulement still applies, i.e. an alien
refused entry or expelled or who is going to be extradited, may
never be transferred to a country where there is firm reason to
believe that he would risk being subjected to torture, nor to a
country where he is not protected from being sent on to a country
where he would run such a risk (Aliens Act, chap. 8, sect. 1, and
sect. 8 of the Act concerning Extradition for Offences).
5. In order
to assess the risk a person runs of being subjected to torture in
any given country, the Swedish Immigration Board and the Aliens
Appeals Board are obliged to evaluate the prevailing situation in
the country in question. The assessment is based on information
from available sources, including the Swedish Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees and well-established international human rights organizations
such as Amnesty International. The immigration authorities further
acquire useful information and knowledge by interviewing asylum
seekers from different countries and by undertaking fact-finding
missions to countries of special interest every year.
an individual assessment is made in each case. If there is firm
reason to believe that the asylum seeker runs a risk of being subjected
to torture in his country of origin, the Aliens Act strictly forbids
his transferral to that country. In the assessment, the asylum seeker's
personal history and his own evaluation of the situation are also
taken into account.
7. As was
reported in the initial report (para. 4), a basic provision relating
to the protection from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment is found in the Constitution of Sweden,
and prohibits the use of torture and any medical intervention for
the purpose of influencing statements (Instrument of Government,
chap. 2, sect. 5). In 1995, however, the Council of Europe's Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was
incorporated into Swedish law. This introduced into Swedish law
another basic provision prohibiting torture: article 3 of the European
Convention states that "no one shall be subjected to torture or
to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Furthermore, protection
against torture is offered under a number of provisions in the Penal
Code (see paras. 8 and 9 below).
8. As reported
in the initial report (paras. 31-45), the Penal Code contains provisions
relating to acts involving the infliction of such severe pain or
suffering, whether physical or mental, that they amount to torture
within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention, if they are committed
for any of the reasons mentioned there.
examples of provisions in the Penal Code that criminalize acts referred
to in article 1 of the Convention are murder (chap. 3, sect. 1),
kidnapping (chap. 4, sect. 1), unlawful deprivation of liberty (chap.
4, sect. 2), unlawful coercion (chap. 4, sect. 4), unlawful threat
(chap. 4, sect. 5), assault (chap. 3, sect. 5), violation of domicile
and unlawful intrusion (chap. 4, sect. 6), insult (chap. 5, sect.
3), rape (chap. 6, sect. 1), sexual coercion (chap. 6, sect. 2),
sexual molestation (chap. 6, sect. 7) and interference in a judicial
matter (chap. 17, sect. 10).
to chapter 23, section 4, of the Penal Code, the penalty provided
in the Code for an unlawful act shall not only be inflicted on a
person who commits that act, but also on anyone who furthers such
an act by advice or deed.
who has made an uncompleted attempt to commit an offence, such as
kidnapping or unlawful deprivation of liberty, is liable for an
attempted offence if there was a risk that the act would have led
to the completion of the offence. The same applies if such a risk
did not exist only because of accidental circumstances (Penal Code,
chap. 23, sect. 1).
the acts referred to in article 1 of the Convention are criminalized,
and the Swedish Government takes the view that existing Swedish
law is in accordance with the obligations under article 4 of the
to the argument put forward by the Committee against Torture at
its 143rd meeting concerning the statistical benefits of a separate
offence of torture in the Penal Code, an idea of the number of sentences
imposed in such cases might be obtained from the Personnel Responsibility
Committee of the National Police Board. During the period 1990-1991,
there were three cases of violence against persons taken to police
stations that led to convictions for assault. Between 1992 and May
1996, there were nine such cases (see para. 30 for some examples).
was requested by the Committee at the 143rd meeting as to the penalties
prescribed for acts of torture. Some examples (e.g. assault) were
given in the initial report (paras. 31-32), and at the 143rd and
144th meetings the Swedish representative explained that the penalties
for torture differ, depending on what provision in the Penal Code
is applicable. An act of torture leading to the death of the victim
will, for example, be considered to be murder, for which the maximum
penalty is life imprisonment.
should be added that the penal scale prescribed for the petty grade
of assault and battery was altered in 1993 and is now fines or imprisonment
for not more than six months (chap. 3, sect. 5, of the Penal Code).
penalties prescribed for some of the offences in the Penal Code
(chap. 3, sect. 1): imprisonment for 10 years or life;
(chap. 4, sect. 1): imprisonment for four to 10 years or life, and
if the crime is less grave imprisonment for not more than six years;
deprivation of liberty (chap. 4, sect. 2): imprisonment for one
to 10 years, and if the crime is less grave, fines or imprisonment
for not more than two years;
coercion (chap. 4, sect. 4): fines or imprisonment for at most two
years, and if the crime is grave imprisonment for six months to
six years. It should be noted that when judging the gravity of the
crime special consideration shall be given to whether the act included
the infliction of pain to force a confession or other torture;
threat (chap. 4, sect. 5): fines or imprisonment for not more than
one year, and if the crime is grave, imprisonment for six months
to four years.
Sweden, the fixed term of imprisonment may not exceed 10 years unless
more than one crime has been committed or the accused has a criminal
has been a change in paragraph 3 of chapter 2, section 3, of the
Penal Code (referred to in para. 46 of the initial report). The
provision now applies to crimes committed by a person employed in
a so-called foreign contingent of the Swedish armed forces during
service abroad. In paragraph 6 of that section, crime against public
international law, unlawful dealing with
weapons and false or careless statement before an international
court have been added to the list of offences.
one-year limit in section 7 of chapter 4 of the Aliens Act was removed
in 1994 and the provision stating that an alien can be expelled
if he is convicted of a crime now applies to all crimes for which
imprisonment is included in the penalty scale, regardless of the
length of imprisonment.
information in the initial report concerning training of police
officers (para. 74) still applies.
educational programme at the Police Academy includes information
about different United Nations human rights conventions such as
the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment.
information in the initial report (para. 75) and in the second periodic
report (para. 13) concerning training of prison staff still applies.
According to a new educational programme, the students shall achieve
knowledge of the European Prison Rules, the United Nations conventions
of importance for prison and probation officers and of any international
agreements concer-ning persons sentenced to imprisonment. Human
values and ethics are of great importance in the design of the educational
unknown number of immigrants, including refugees, currently living
in Sweden have been subjected to torture or have suffered other
trauma before entering the country. In 1994 the Government decided
to take action in order to improve the rehabilitation of tortured
and traumatized people, and Parliament set aside Skr 50 million
in total for this purpose, Skr 25 million for 1994/95 and Skr 25
million for 1995/96. Furthermore, almost every County Council has
at its disposal at least one special unit aimed at the rehabilitation
of immigrants who have suffered torture and other trauma.
of the information provided in the previous reports still applies
(paras. 101-120 of the initial report and paras. 16-22 of the second
periodic report). However, the possibilities for detaining a foreign
child under the age of 16 have been further limited. Chapter 6,
section 3, of the Aliens Act now reads as follows:
"An alien child under
16 may not be detained unless (1) it is probable that the child
will be refused entry pursuant to chapter 4, section 1 or 2
and that an order for immediate enforcement under chapter 8,
section 8 will be made or the question will arise of enforcing
such a refusal-of-entry order, and there is an obvious risk
that the child will otherwise conceal himself, thereby jeopardizing
an impending enforcement which ought not to be delayed, or (2)
the question arises of enforcement of a refusal-of-entry order
in a case other than referred to in paragraph 1 or of an expulsion
order pursuant to chapter 4, section 3 and, on a previous attempt
being made to enforce the order, it has proved insufficient
for the child to be kept under supervision as provided in section
"The child may not
be detained as provided in subsection one if it is sufficient
for him to be kept under supervision as provided in section
"The child may not
be separated from his custodian or, if there is more than one
custodian, from one of them as a result of the custodian or
the child being detained. If the child has no custodian in this
country, the child may only be detained if there are exceptional
grounds for doing so."
time a child may be detained has also been limited. A new paragraph
3 has been added to chapter 6, section 4, of the Aliens Act. It
reads as follows:
"A foreign child
under 16 may not be detained for more than 72 hours or, if there
are exceptional grounds for doing so, for an additional 72 hours."
1986 Act concerning Disciplinary Matters Committed by Members of
the Armed Forces is replaced by the Act (1994:1811) on Disciplinary
Liability within the Total Defence System. This new Act contains
provisions making it possible to impose disciplinary penalties not
only on members of the armed forces, but also on others with a so-called
total defence duty during their compulsory military or civilian
mentioned in the second periodic report (para. 20), the Act concerning
Psychiatric Compulsory Care (1991:1128) and the Act concerning Forensic
Psychiatric Care (1991:1129) both entered into force on 1 January
1992, replacing the 1966 Act concerning Institutional Psychiatric
National Board of Health and Welfare has evaluated whether the changes
in the legislation concerning compulsory psychiatric institutional
care have had the desired effect. In its report, the Board states
that they have; the conditions for a continued decrease of the usage
of compulsory measures have been improved.
order to evaluate whether the legislation has had the desired effect
on individual rights, there is, however, a need for research to
be carried out over a lengthy period of time. The Government, therefore,
has appointed an independent commission which will further investigate
and evaluate the legislation. The commission shall, inter alia,
examine the use of compulsory care and compulsory measures, the
use of coercion and the legal rights of the individual. The commission
shall present its report to the Government at the end of 1997.
the previous report submitted in 1992 a few policemen have been
sentenced by the court to fines. All the cases concerned assault,
except one in which a policeman was convicted of causing bodily
injury when his police
a man. The majority of the cases involved petty assault e.g. the
case in which a police inspector assaulted a detained woman by dragging
her by her hair, and led to conditional sentences or fines.
have been two cases of assault committed by prison guards against
prisoners since 1992, one of which was considered to be aggravated
assault. Both cases led to imprisonment and dismissal of the prison
prison officers have been convicted of misuse of office and received
conditional sentences and fines. They had participated in the transport
of a prisoner who, during the transport, died of suffocation. The
transport was not conducted according to the regulations. The prisoner
was mentally ill and aggressive, and the prison officers placed
him on the floor of the transport vehicle, handcuffed and shackled,
which made it almost impossible for him to move. The court did not
find that the prison officers had caused the death of the prisoner,
but that they did not follow the regulations concerning transport.
After this incident, the National Prison and Probation Administration
changed the rules for transport of persons in custody.
II. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE COMMITTEE
clarifications and other information requested by the Committee
during its consideration of Sweden's second periodic report have
been presented under the relevant articles of the Convention under
Part I of this report.
the Committee needs further information or material about the situation
in Sweden, the Swedish Government will be happy to supply it with
the necessary completions.
List of annexes *
Swedish Instrument of Government
from the Swedish Penal Code
from the Swedish Aliens Act (1989:529)
Act on Disciplinary Liability within the Total Defence System (1994:1811)
Act concerning Extradition for Offences (1957:688)
annexes are available for consultation in the files of the United
Nations Centre for Human Rights.