During the last few days, events have unfolded in connection with the establishment of new evidence of unlawful activities against the so-called «opposition» in Russia (1), which have caused a furious reaction from the West. In many ways, the reaction is based on the media created image of some countries version of the protection of human rights, that supposedly gives these countries a «right» to act in the role of international mentors, pointing to violations in other countries.
So, last week, the U.S. government accused Russia of violating the UN Convention against Torture based on statements made by a member of the «opposition» L. Razvozzhaev about his alleged kidnapping and torture. U.S. authorities have demanded that the Russian authorities «verify» the information. The reaction of the Russian Foreign Ministry was very clear. U.S. demands were described as not only «unfounded», but also «hypocritical». And this is indeed the case. The Head of Department at the Rule of Law and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that so far «no American soldier or intelligence officer guilty of systematic torture of both American and foreign nationals in Iraq, Afghanistan and special CIA prisons, or in the special prison at Guantanamo Bay (2), have been punished».
However, the representative of the Russian diplomatic service was too diplomatic and limited in not taking the U.S. claim too seriously. And in this he was wrong! After all, the situation inside the U.S. in respect of torture is no better!
First of all, only in 1994 did the United States become a party to the Convention against Torture of 1984. Unlike the Soviet Union, which signed up to join the Convention after its opening (3). At the same time, we must bear in mind that the essence of the Convention lies in the international monitoring of the domestic law of countries, but for 10 years the US has refused such international control, whilst the USSR / Russia voluntarily subjected themselves to such control.
Secondly, the U.S. law on torture is seriously flawed and does not meet the 1984 Convention. Such a conclusion is made by the UN International Committee against Torture, which, according to the 1984 Convention has the authority to draw such conclusions.
Thus, the Committee explicitly stated that the level of «awareness, education and training of law enforcement or military personnel are not adequate and do not ensure that the focus is on all of the provisions of the Convention, in particular the non-derogation in nature of the prohibition of torture».(4).
The Committee also noted that in 2002 the U.S. had sanctioned the use of special interrogation techniques that led to the death of some detainees during interrogation. (5)
The Committee «expressed concern» about allegations of impunity enjoyed by some law enforcement officers of member countries in respect of acts of torture. (6) The Committee noted the «limited thoroughness in investigation and lack of criminal prosecution regarding allegations of torture in Chicago,» and expressed concern about the difficulties faced by some victims of abuse in connection with obtaining redress and adequate compensation, and the fact that only a small number of detainees filed claims for compensation for the alleged abuse and maltreatment». (7)
In addition, the UN has criticized the 1997(e) section of the Litigation Reform Act of 1995, according to which «a prisoner cannot appeal in a civil action to the federal court for mental or emotional injury suffered while being under custody without a prior showing of physical injury.”(8) The position of the UN Committee is well founded, because this approach completely changes the definition of torture in article 1 of the Convention, according to which torture can be both physical and mental abuse.
Finally, the Committee reiterated its demand, repeated for many years, for the U.S. to change the situation of children in detention. In particular, it was noted that children are not completely isolated from adults in detention before trial and after conviction. The Committee has also raised concern about the high number of children sentenced to life in prison! (9) And it is also a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (to which the United States still have not yet signed, but to which the Soviet Union has been a party since its creation in 1989). The UN Committee against Torture has not developed the theme of the protection of children's rights because it relies solely on the jurisdiction of the Convention against Torture. In the cases of violence in The US against adopted children from Russia, the relevant departments developing legislation need to know the position of the organs of the UN, which lead to the conclusion that the ongoing killings and violence against children is not random, but is the result of the existing legislation in the U.S. and the enforcement system.
Now finally, «The Committee is concerned about the treatment of women in prison in a member country, including the fact that they are humiliated by gender, as well as the fact that women in labor are kept in handcuffs».
How all these findings of the UN Committee contradict the pretty picture, which is shoved in our face daily on «Echo of Moscow» and other «independent» media!
This really is not a small stain; it is a big ugly dirty smelly stain. So if the Russian people need to learn from somebody, it is not from you, gentlemen. A Russian investigative committee shall themselves sort out what crimes were committed in the case of the preparation of the riots. Would it not be a good place to start, gentlemen, for the U.S. law enforcement agencies to implement the recommendation of the UN Committee and to finally enter into the federal criminal code an article about torture in accordance with international law! (10)
(1) Thus, on October 19 the Investigative Committee of Russia, Deputy of the Duma Mr. I.Ponomarev announced that Mr. Razvozzhaev was on the federal wanted list as a suspect in a criminal case under the article «Preparation for the organization of mass disorders» the case was brought after checking facts from the film «Anatomy of a protest-2». The IC reported that the accused himself spoke to them and wrote a confession.
(3) The Convention against Torture came into force in the USSR on March 3, 1987.
(4) «The UN Committee against Torture. 36 sixth session (1-19 May 2006). Report of the United States. The findings and recommendations of the Committee against Torture», paragraph 23, / / UN document: CAT/C/USA/CO/2, July 25, 2006. (Report analyzed the U.S. in 2006 – the latest report presented to the Committee against Torture and which was referred to the UN with a delay of 6 years. Despite the fact that the U.S. government had to submit new reports in 2005, so far this has not been done.)
(5) Paragraph 24
(6) Paragraph 25
(7) Paragraph 28
(8) Paragraph 29
(9) Paragraph 34