CPT: Torture in detention and impunity for perpetrators persist in the North Caucasus

by zoejardiniere

25.01.2013 For the first time since 2003, the Russian authorities have authorised the publication of a report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on the findings from its visit to the North-Caucasus region.

The CPT reports grave concerns over the lack of progress made since its first visit to the region over a decade ago. The Committee collected evidence of the use of torture and ill-treatment in detention centres in all three republics visited, Dagestan, Chechnya and North Ossetia-Alania, and of high rates of impunity for perpetrators.

The report concludes that public officials, investigators and judges do not take the necessary action when they are made aware of potential cases of abuse. In the majority of cases, investigations into allegations of torture are dropped after a preliminary enquiry. When criminal proceedings are initiated, the accused is usually charged with lesser offenses than torture, such as abuse of power.

The Committee noted that despite general cooperation on the part of Russian officials, several displayed an attitude of denial, refusing to acknowledge the possibility of instances of torture. Instances were also recorded of intimidation of detainees by authorities, and the provision of inaccurate information.

The CPT has reiterated recommendations including ensuring access to legal and medical care to detainees.

The report, based on a visit in April and May 2011, has been published in tandem with the response of the Russian government.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has welcomed Russia’s authorisation of the publication of the report, and expressed hope that this openness will continue.

For further information:

–         The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment