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Input for the report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture on the duty to investigate torture

Upon the call of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee submitted an input for the Special Rapporteur’s thematic report “The duty to investigate crimes of torture in national law and practice”.

Our input covers the regulatory framework of how torture is criminalized in Hungary, along with examples from Hungary of challenges, impediments and obstacles to effective national investigations and prosecutions of acts of torture when it comes to ill-treatment by police officers or penitentiary staff. Such examples for ill-treatment by the police include

  • the lack of adequate investigation protocols to follow by investigating authorities in ill-treatment cases and the lack of their sufficient training;
  • the lack of independent and adequate medical examination of persons claiming ill-treatment;
  • the lack of proper video recording of police work in various scenarios; and
  • the lack of zero tolerance messaging from high-level law enforcement and government officials.

In penitentiaries, complaint procedure(s) currently available for detainees do not provide an efficient way to report ill-treatment, and since in most of these cases no video recording, medical files or independent witnesses are available, these serious human rights violations remain without consequences.

Our input also raises attention to the fact that Hungary legalised collective expulsion of unlawfully staying foreigners to the Serbian side of the border fence erected at the international border between the two states in 2016, and many of the collective expulsions that have taken place are violent in nature. However, as the majority of apprehensions and all consequent removals take place in secluded places, the likelihood of independent witnesses providing testimonies or making complaints in these cases is negligible.

The HHC’s input is available here:

Submission for the thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture on the duty to investigate crimes of torture in national law and practice

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Hungarian Helsinki Committee