Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that “torture, inhumane treatment, acts causing great suffering or serious injury and degrading and inhumane practices” are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and war crimes.
Under Hungary’s Criminal Code (1978), as amended in 1998, inflicting “serious bodily or mental injury to the members of a [national, ethnic, racial or religious group]”, as part of a genocide campaign, constitutes a “crime against the freedom of peoples”.
In 2004, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Hungary stated:
221. According to the Constitution, nobody is to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or humiliating treatment or punishment.
226. Act XXXIV of 1994 on the police also stipulates the prohibition of torture, extorting testimonies, and cruel, inhuman or humiliating treatment in line with international requirements, and regulates the most important guarantee provisions applicable to the use of means of extortion at the level of laws. According to the law, police officers shall not use torture, extortion of testimonies, or cruel, inhuman or humiliating treatment and shall refuse instructions to this effect given by their superiors. In addition, police officers shall take measures against persons exhibiting such behaviour for the sake of prevention, and initiate legal proceedings and investigations. Pursuant to the Decree of the Minister of the Interior No. 19/1995 on the procedures in police jails, the detainee shall be treated with respect for his human dignity in the course of any action. It is prohibited to subject detainees to torture or to treat them in a cruel, inhuman or humiliating way. No medical experiments or scientific tests may be performed on detainees, even with their consent.
In 2004, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Hungary stated:
121. Section 16, subsection 3, of the Police Act and section 11, subsection 3, of Act CVII of 1995 on the organization of penitentiary institutions expressly prohibit torture and inhuman treatment.
122. Section 16, subsection 3, of the Police Act provides: “Members of the police shall not use torture, forced interrogation, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They shall deny compliance with orders to this effect. In order to prevent such conduct members of the police shall take measures against the performer of such conduct without regard to post, rank or person.”
123. Section 11, subsection 3, of Act CVII of 1995 on the organization of penitentiary institutions provides: “When taking measures members of the penitentiary shall not use torture, forced interrogation, inhuman or degrading treatment. They shall deny compliance with orders to this effect. Members of the staff shall call upon the performer of such conduct to stop his conduct immediately, they shall be entitled to take measures or report to the person authorized to take measures.”
124. Torture within the meaning of the Convention violates section 226 (ill-treatment in official proceedings) or 227 (forced interrogation) of the Hungarian Criminal Code. If in addition to these offences bodily assault is also committed, the conduct is evaluated as constituting a cumulative crime.
126. In respect of such conduct, or the use of unauthorized bodily force, or orders calling for the commission of bodily assault, it has to be mentioned that official members of the armed forces and the police are supposed to know the legal provisions that govern their operation, rights and obligations. In the case of such offences, a subordinate member of the police or the armed forces shall not successfully allege that he acted upon an order. A knowledge of the above-cited legal provisions and regulations and of the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code is a prerequisite for admission into the service for official members. Therefore, in practice, official members of the police or the armed forces shall not use an excuse of non-familiarity with the relevant laws.