Torture and cruel treatment in the army: new recruits must be separated from senior conscripts

On January 24, 2019 the Government of Tajikistan has adopted National Plan of Actions for 2019-2022 to fulfill recommendations of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The National Plan consists of 22 paragraphs: investigation of torture cases, punishment for torture, intensification of activity of Human Rights Ombudsman in RT, basic legal guarantees and remedies, access to independent lawyer, inspection of detention places, custodial detention conditions, independent grievance mechanism, indemnification and rehabilitation, etc.

The National Plan envisages around 80 measures aimed at improvement of legislation and law enforcement practices as to prevention of torture. Implementation of the National Plan involves a wide range of state authorities, courts, law-enforcement bodies, Ombudsman institution.

So, Paragraph №19 of the National Plan: “Torture and cruel treatment in the army”

This paragraph implies the implementation of the following measures:

·         Conduct training workshops and intensify information events on the matter among members of armed forces.

·         Study and generalize cases of registering and committing crimes or offences related to acts of violence/harassment among servicemen, determine the nature of a particular crime or offence in accordance with Article 143 NB1 of the Criminal Code of RT, and distinguish these crimes or offences from army/military hazing, as well as from crimes or offences related to negligence and exceeding official powers, and take measures by results.

·         Step up the work of section, platoon and company commanders for daily morning formation; take additional measures for prevention and detection of acts of violence/ harassment among servicemen, and place new recruits away from senior conscripts, in separate barracks in military unit compound.

·         Introduce changes and amendments into legislation on obligatory transfer of victims and eye-witnesses of torture and cruel treatment in the army to other military units, pending investigation and evidentiary hearing.

·         Take additional efficient measures for filing requests and complaints, on the part of servicemen, about torture and cruel treatment, including the check of request and complaint letter boxes, and hot line operation.

·         In order to provide proper medical and psychological assistance to victims of torture and cruel treatment in military units and outfits, establish separate work rooms furnished with necessary medical equipment and take specific measures to indemnify for damages, provide medical and psychological assistance with regard to every case of humiliation of conscripts by older soldiers.

This material has been prepared by the International Torture Victims Protection Day that is marked every year on June 26.

Torture is like a dreadful virus, and there is only one vaccine against it – public disclosure.

Activities dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture became possible within the framework of the project “Support for anti-torture agenda and human rights groups in Tajikistan”, funded by the European Union.