Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee publishes report on Croatia

The Council of Europe's Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) has published today its report on the 2nd periodic visit to Croatia in 2003, together with the authorities’ response. These documents have been made public at the request of the Croatian Government.
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In the course of the 2003 visit, the CPT found that, although the number of allegations of ill-treatment of persons in police custody was lower than during the first periodic visit in 1998, police ill-treatment continued to represent a problem. In its report, the Committee recommended that a high priority be given to police training and that the fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment (in particular, the rights of notification of custody, access to a lawyer and access to a doctor) be considerably strengthened.

The allegations received during the 2003 visit of physical ill-treatment of prisoners by staff at Osijek and Split County Prisons and Lepoglava State Prison represented a disturbing departure from the generally favourable situation found in 1998. The CPT recommended that the authorities deliver the clear message to prison officers throughout the country that all forms of ill-treatment are not acceptable and will be the subject of severe sanctions.

The report also contains recommendations aimed at combating prison overcrowding, enhancing the provision of activities to inmates, improving the health care provision and increasing prison staffing levels.

Hardly any allegations of ill-treatment of patients by staff were received at Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital, and none at Nuštar Social Care Home. Material conditions at these establishments were generally satisfactory, with the exception of the forensic psychiatric and male chronic units at Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital. As regards treatment, the CPT recommended an increase in the range of therapeutic, rehabilitative and recreational activities; this will require more qualified staff.

In their response, the Croatian authorities provide information on the measures being taken to address the concerns raised in the CPT’s report.

The CPT's visit report and the response of the Croatian authorities are available on the Committee's website (