Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Under Yemen’s Military Criminal Code (1998), the following acts constitute war crimes: “torture or maltreatment of prisoners or causing them intentionally great suffering” or “committing grave attempts to the physical and mental integrity and health of prisoners of war and civilians”.
In 2004, in its fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Yemen stated:
Prohibition of torture
129. Under the legislation of the Republic of Yemen, specifically the Constitution and the Penal Code, all forms of torture are absolutely prohibited. Torture is regarded as a crime by all standards, as will be seen from the discussion below.
149. Article 21 [of the Military Penal Code, Law No. 11 of 1998] states, “Every person subject to the provisions of this Code who commits, in time of war, any act causing harm to persons or property protected under international instruments to which the Republic of Yemen is a party shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than three years or a punishment commensurate with the results of his crime. In particular, the acts described below shall be deemed to constitute war crimes punishable under this Code:
(a) Torture or mistreatment of prisoners, deliberately causing them severe pain, or subjecting them to scientific experiments;
(b) Deliberately causing serious physical or mental harm or impairment of the health of prisoners, whether soldiers or civilians …
154. Article 47 [of the Military Penal Code] states, “Without prejudice to the general penal law, every officer who strikes, causes bodily harm to, acts in such a way as to impair the health of, or assigns additional service to a man under his command as a means of subjecting him to torture, or allows others to injure him, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years and to the payment of compensation. Where the action results in the death of the man concerned, the perpetrator shall be liable to the death penalty.”
156. Article 35 [of the Military Penal Code] reads as follows: “Every member of the armed forces who in the performance of his duty tortures or subjects to force or threats, either in person or through the agency of another, any suspect, witness or expert as a means of making him admit to or provide views or information about a criminal offence shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years, without prejudice to the victim’s right to retaliation, blood-money or financial compensation for injury.”
Cases of torture
177. With reference to paragraph 17 of the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, such inhuman practices may indeed occur in Yemen, no less than in other countries, and the Government is intensifying its action against them. Such practices are to be regarded as aberrations, the doing of sick minds that have led some individuals to misuse the authority vested in them by the law. The State assiduously combats all forms of torture, taking legislative, administrative and awareness-enhancing measures to that end.