Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) states that prohibited methods of warfare include “torture aimed at obtaining information of any kind”.
The manual further prohibits the torture and cruel treatment of victims of war, namely the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, prisoners of war and the civilian population.
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
Under any circumstances international humanitarian law ensures humane treatment during an armed conflict of persons not directly involved in combat operations … In particular, the following shall be prohibited with regard to such persons:
- violence to life and person, including murder of any kind, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture and torment;
- outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
- threats to commit any of the above acts.
With regard to prisoners of war, the Regulations states: “Prisoners of war shall be questioned in the language they understand, no torture or any other pressure may be used.”
With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations states:
The following acts against [all persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities] are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever: … violence to the life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment; …outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault [and] threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
Under the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code (1996), the cruel treatment of civilians or prisoners of war is a “crime against the peace and security of mankind”.
In 2008, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation stated: “The use of children in conflict is inadmissible, as is inhuman treatment of them.”
In 2009, in its written reply to the Human Rights Committee concerning the list of issues raised in connection with its sixth periodic report, the Russian Federation stated:
At the present moment, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, public officials, including police officers, military servicemen and members of the security services, may be subject to prosecution for acts of torture and cruel treatment in accordance with Articles 302 (coercion to obtain testimony) and 117 (torture) of the Criminal Code. The perpetrator of the offence under Article 303 is any person who orders, or is responsible for, the above acts, as well as any other person acting with the consent or acquiescence of the above persons.
4. … Once ratified, treaties and conventions all are integrated into domestic law. According to the Constitution (Articles 189 and 190), ratified treaties have supremacy over organic and national laws. …
122. Torture and other ill treatment is currently an issue and has been for a very long time, to citizens of all nations. Hence, the international community is determined to eradicate this evil by the adoption of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Rwanda acceded to this philosophy by the ratification of the Convention.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2010, in its fifth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, the Russian Federation stated:
1. Pursuant to Federal Act No. 162-FZ of 8 December 2003 amending the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation [(1996)], a note was added to article 117 of the Code containing the following definition of torture:
“The term ‘torture’ in the present article and other articles of the present Code shall be understood to mean the infliction of physical or mental suffering for the purpose of coercing the victim to provide testimony or to perform other actions contrary to his or her will, for the purpose of punishment or for other purposes.”
2. This amendment brought legal certainty with respect to the categorization of the aforementioned unlawful acts in cases involving the use of torture, and its content is in compliance with article 1 of the Convention [1984 Convention against Torture].
43. The adherence by Rwanda to fundamental principles of human rights, including through provisions of its internal law system, does not give room for derogation from guarantees offered to citizens of protection against acts of torture, even during exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability, war, state of emergency or any other situation. The fact that Rwanda has ratified the Convention against Torture and that it may be directly applied by internal courts is a further guarantee of non-derogation even in emergency situations. Authorization of torture in exceptional circumstances would be unconstitutional with regard to article 15 of the Constitution, which formally prohibits the use of torture in all cases.
[footnote in original omitted]