Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that “torture, inhumane treatment, acts causing great suffering or serious injury and degrading and inhumane practices” are grave breaches of IHL and war crimes.
According to Croatia’s Instructions on Basic Rules of IHL (1993), detainees must be protected against all acts of violence, including physical or mental torture and cruel or humiliating treatment.
Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997) provides that it is a war crime to subject the civilian population, the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, prisoners of war and medical or religious personnel to acts of torture, inhuman treatment or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.
Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997), as amended to 2006, states that it is a war crime to subject the following individuals to torture or inhuman treatment or to great suffering impairing the integrity of their bodies and health:
- civilians …
- the wounded, sick, shipwrecked persons or medical or religious personnel …
- prisoners of war …
The Code also states that “[ordering] that a person deprived of liberty or under supervision be tortured by intentionally inflicting severe bodily or mental harm or suffering” is a crime against humanity.
The Code further states that “[intending] to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group … or [ordering] serious bodily injury to be inflicted on them, or [ordering] the physical or mental health of the members of such a group to be impaired” is an act of genocide.
The Code also criminalizes other acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment:
An official or another person who, acting upon the instigation or with the explicit or implicit consent of a public official, inflicts on a person physical or mental pain or severe physical or mental suffering for such purposes as to obtain from him or a third person information or a confession, or punishes him for a criminal offence he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed or who intimidates or coerces him for any other reason based on discrimination of any kind shall be punished by imprisonment for one to eight years.
In 2001, in its third periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Croatia stated:
Even in the case of a direct threat to the existence of the State, the implementation of the constitutional provisions cannot be restricted regarding … the prohibition of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Croatia stated:
Not even in the case of an immediate threat to the existence of the State may restrictions be imposed on the application of the provisions of the Constitution concerning the … prohibition of torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.