Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Continuity of torture cases is a result of officials’ impunity

June 22, 2021

Activities | Right to Freedom from Torture | Publications | European Court of Human Rights | News | State Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On 5 March 2021, HCA Vanadzor applied to the RA Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan, claiming to ensure application of provisions set by Article 1087․3 part 7 of the RA Civil Code and take the relevant necessary measures.


Article 1087.3 part 7 of the Law  “On making amendments and addenda to the RA Civil Code” - adopted by the NA back on 16 December 2016 - sets that “The damage incurred by a victim of torture shall be redressed at the expense of the funds of the State Budget. The Republic of Armenia which has paid redress for the damage inflicted as a consequence of the act of torture committed by or at the instigation, upon the order or with acquiescence of an official or other person having the right to act on behalf of an official or state body shall have the right of regress to that person in the amount of the redress paid”.  


Though this law entered into force in 2017, its practical application is not ensured; HCA Vanadzor has regularly applied to the RA Ministry of Finance regarding this issue. In this respect, we can mention four judgments ruled by the European Court of Human Rights that record violations of Article 3 (Prohibition of Torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights and urge to compensate RA applicants with AMD equivalent to EUR 33,600. In response to HCA Vanadzor inquiry for information on the state’s regress to the relevant persons, the RA Ministry of Finance informed that the relevant financial means were allocated to the RA Ministry of Justice for the implementation of those rulings, as no other state body presented relevant grounds to the Ministry of Finance for regress. 


Nonetheless, clause 7 of Article 1087.3 enshrines the state’s right to regress, which allows for holding liable officials who have violated absolute rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention, as well as preventing further cases of torture. 


This means that establishment of the institute of regress not only envisages the right to compensation for pecuniary damage, but also presents -on behalf of the state - regress to the official or officials whose decision, action or inaction resulted in the damage. 


Thus, in response to HCA Vanadzor letter of 5 March 2021, the RA Ministry of Justice mentioned that regress towards an official is not the state’s obligation, but rather, it is the state’s right and, as necessary, the state decides to apply it or not; when the state does not take enough measures and steps, very often the official or the person having the right to act on behalf of a state body is not held liable, which indicates their impunity and continuity of cases of torture.

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