Practice Relating to Rule 87. Humane Treatment
In its judgment in the Videla case
in 1994, Chile’s Appeal Court of Santiago held that common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions obliged parties to non-international armed conflicts “to extend humanitarian treatment to persons taking no active part in the hostilities or who have placed themselves hors de combat
for various reasons”.
In its judgment in the Contreras Sepúlveda case in 2004, Chile’s Supreme Court stated:
[W]ithout any doubt, the 1949 Geneva Conventions are in force … and oblige State parties in case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring within their territory, which is exactly the situation in Chile during the period of 12 September 1973 and 11 March 1975, to treat humanely … opponents who have laid down their arms, … prohibiting in particular at any time and any place a) violence to life and person, and b) outrages upon personal dignity.
In 2002, in its third periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Chile stated:
Act No. 19,567 has introduced the following amendments [to the Penal Code]:
(a) It maintains … article 150 of the Penal Code, but with penalties ranging from 61 days to 5 years of rigorous or ordinary imprisonment for persons who … treat … [ a detained person] with unnecessary severity.
Chile further stated:
The penalties range from 541 days to 5 years of rigorous or ordinary imprisonment for any public employee who practises against a detainee unlawful physical or mental oppression or who orders or who consents to such oppression.
Chile also stated:
89. … From the legislative standpoint, the Carabineros Police are governed not only by the relevant constitutional and legal provisions, but by three sets of regulations:
(b) Service Regulation No. 7 for Chiefs and Officers responsible for Order and Security, approved by Supreme Decree No. 639 of 1968, which, in article 57 (1) and (5), establishes … obligations of the guard officer vis-à-vis detainees [such as] … “in no circumstances allowing a detainee to be ill-treated or harassed …”;
(c) Service Regulation No. 10 for Institutionally Appointed Personnel, approved by Supreme Decree No. 1,818 of 1967, which in various provisions refers to the treatment of detainees:
(ii) Article 15, which provides that these officers shall, in general, “treat detainees with consideration, tact and care, preventing personnel from using violent or abusive methods or procedures against them, without distinction as to the social condition of the detainees”;
(iii) Article 16 (2), which establishes as a duty of guard personnel “not to ill-treat or allow to be ill-treated any detainee who arrives or is already in the police station”;
(iv) Article 18 (4), which establishes as one of the duties of the cell supervisor “to deal with requests by detainees and not allow them, while they are in his custody, to be ill-treated or harassed. … “in no circumstances allowing a detainee to be ill-treated or harassed …”.
90. Article 19 of the Investigaciones [Investigations] Police Organization Act “prohibits Investigaciones officers from perpetrating any act of violence intended to obtain statements from the detainee”. Infringement of this provision is punishable by custodial penalties ranging, as for the offence of unnecessary violence punishable under the Code of Military Justice, from 41 days, if no injuries are caused or any injuries are slight, to 15 years if the death of the victim is caused.