Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Cuba’s Military Criminal Code (1979) punishes anyone who severely ill-treats a wounded or sick prisoner.
In 2009, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the obligation to extradite or prosecute and treaties over time, the representative of Cuba stated:
The Cuban delegation would like to emphasise that the obligation to extradite or prosecute is aimed at combating impunity, by ensuring that persons accused of certain crimes are denied safe haven and are brought to trial for their criminal acts.
… [I]n the case of certain crimes of the most serious nature, [the obligation to extradite or prosecute] has acquired a character that may be considered customary.
Some of the crimes that include this obligation include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity … [and] torture.
In 2010, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Cuba stated:
53. Given the definition of torture contained in article 1 of the Convention, any act of torture is prohibited and punishable under Cuban law. Actions involving torture are punishable under various sections of the Criminal Code in relation to a wide range of offences, such as:
(g) Maltreatment of prisoners of war (Military [Criminal Code (1979)], art. 42.1); violence against the population in a region of military operations (art. 44.1); dishonourable conduct (art. 36); looting (art. 43.1).
104. Article 42.1 of the Military [Criminal Code] provides that “any person who seriously mistreats a prisoner of war” is liable to a penalty of six months’ to three years’ imprisonment. Article 42.2 of that Act provides that “the same penalty shall apply to anyone who mistreats an injured prisoner in any way (…)”.
105. Article 36 of the Military [Criminal Code] includes the offence of dishonourable conduct, and provides that any member of the armed forces who commits an act which, while not constituting torture, may constitute ill treatment of another person is liable to a penalty of between three months’ and three years’ imprisonment.
108. Article 44.1 of the Military [Criminal Code], which establishes the offence of violence against the civilian population in a region of military operations, provides that “Anyone who performs acts of violence against the civilian population in a region of military operations … is liable to a penalty of one to eight years’ imprisonment”. Paragraph (2) of this article establishes that if such acts are performed repeatedly or with cruelty, or cause considerable material damage, the penalty shall be between eight and 20 years’ imprisonment or death.
109. In the case of offences committed as a prisoner of war, article 47.1 of the Military [Criminal Code] establishes that “a prisoner given a position of authority who performs acts of violence against the other prisoners, or mistreats them, shall be liable to a penalty of between five and 20 years’ imprisonment”. Paragraph (2) of this article increases the penalty to between eight and 20 years’ imprisonment, or death, “if serious injury or death of a prisoner results from the acts described in paragraph (1)”.