Civil Society Against Tortures. The Cases of Torture in Armenia
29.06.2016
11:00
“It is very hard to explain to my clients that if torture was used against him, it is necessary to apply, fight and demand that the perpetrators be prosecuted and one out of 10 agree to do that,” Advocate Hayk Alumyan said during the discussion at Media Center.

The speaker said that in order to detect the cases of torture, first of all, the tortured  person should be interested in this issue, be consistent and inform about it.

“With regard to torture, I have achieved a victory at the ECHR in three cases, but if my clients were ready and araise about the acts of torture and fight together with me, it would not be 3 but 30 victories," the expert said and added that our society is impermissibly tolerant of torture.

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Head of “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO, said that up to 2015, 12 rulings were adopted concerning Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights that is about the prohibition against torture. 

“One case was about the torture, 9 cases were over the inhumane treatment, 2 cases were over the lack of effectiveness of the investigation,” she said. 

Harutyunyan said that the cases of tortures were mostly explored by the Public Monitoring Group. As an example she mentioned the data of 2013, when as a result of the studies of the monitoring group 324 cases of bodily injuries were revealed among 1431 prisoners, 363 reports were submitted concerning them by the group.

Advocate Hayk Alumyan said that if ECHR adopted 12 rulings it does not mean that there were 12 cases of torture in Armenia.

“It means that only this many people were consistent in the process of claiming justice,” Alumyan said.

Harutyunyan said that ECHR Committee on Tortures has adopted strengthened control against Armenia, as they came to a conclusion that the satate does not take enough steps to prevent such cases.

Hayk Alumyan added that the violence against persons are primarily used to obtain confessions. Despite all the efforts of human rights activists, these confessions continue to be the basis of a guilty verdict by the judges. "As they say, demand breeds supply. If there is a demand in the court to seize any evidence through the use of torture at any cost, it is obvious that there will be torture and confession obtainers." 

The speaker stressed that the only interested party today, revealing the torture are journalists and civil society. As regards the prevention of torture, it is very difficult to measure it. But there is one indicator that after considering it, we can say if the struggle against torture is good or not, but in general there is no struggle.

"Last year, how many people have been convicted for torture - zero, two years ago - zero, and earlier - zero again ... and so on. This is the main indicator, which shows that there is no fight against torture, and the persons or representatives of civil society, who are trying to fight, everything is done that these people fail to achieve success," Alumyan added.

Arevik Sahakyan, Program coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to areviksahakyan@mail.ru

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