07.04.2021 | Number of criminal cases sent to the court on torture cases increased twice in 2 years: summary

The RA Prosecutor's Office continues to improve the legal tools for combating torture.

47 files alleged violations of human rights in the course of pre-trial proceedings regarding citizens illegally detained in police departments and deprived of their actual freedom, tortured and treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner were prepared at the RA SIS under the supervision of the prosecutors of the Department of Supervision over Legality of Pre-trial Proceedings in the RA SIS in 2020. During, under the supervision of the prosecutors of the RA SIS Pre-trial proceedings under the supervision of the prosecutors of the RA SIS. The RA SIS has prepared on other, which is 17.5% more compared with 2019.


6 criminal cases against 11 people were sent to court with indictments, 2 of them against 4 people under Article 309.1 of the RA Criminal Code, 4 cases against 7 people under Article 309, Part 2. The trend of increasing the number of cases sent to court with the mentioned crimes, as well as the number of persons prosecuted by them, remained the same for several years, showing the effectiveness of the criminal policy of last years. For comparison, 5 such criminal cases were sent to court against 8 people in 2019 and 3 criminal cases against 4 people in 2018.


There are many people who file complaints to seek revenge of abusing their rights. They file complaints on the use of physical or psychological violence against them in order to defend themselves. In 2020 according to the outcomes of the preliminary investigation of the criminal cases investigated on the fact of torture, 3 criminal cases were initiated on the grounds of false denunciation, 2 of which on 2 people were sent to the court with an indictment.


In regard with a criminal case listened in court, an official was convicted for abuse of office and the use of violence.


One of the main issues in the fight against crimes of this nature remains the rare videotaping of the interrogation of suspects, accused, and other investigative actions with their participation.


Taking into account the above-mentioned, still in June 2017, the RA Prosecutor's Office sent reports to the heads of the RA preliminary investigation bodies to take measures to provide the videotaping of interrogation of the suspects, the accused, as well as other investigative actions with their participation, in cases when the suspect or the accused has no defender.


Taking into account the considerations of the Prosecutor's Office, as well as the "Strategy for Development of the RA Police in 2020-2023", an amendment was made to the RA Law on Police, according to which the entrances and exits of police departments will be equipped with video cameras to prevent possible cases of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.


In order to solve this problem and to make the criteria for the effectiveness of the investigation of torture cases mandatory, a letter was sent from the RA Prosecutor General's Office to the "Penitentiary Medical Center" SNCO. The prosecutors were instructed to send the complaints of the tortured people immediately, but not later than within 24 hours to the RA General Prosecutor’s Office in order to discuss the issue of sending it to the preliminary body.


It was also instructed not to hesitate in the course of estimating the substantiation of the reports on torture and ill-treatment, and in case of minimal existence of grounds initiate a criminal case.


The approaches of the RA Prosecutor’s Office are derived from the principle of the ECHR case law, which has no statute of limitations. In this regard the Prosecutor’s Office has submitted an appeal, refusing the practice of the RA judicial system.  


For the clarification of this issue the RA Court of Cassation, receiving the case under proceedings, applied to the ECHR for an opinion whether not application of statute of limitations are complying with the Article 7 of European Convention of Human rights.