Six years on, Greece still needs to fix its law on torture

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Date: 26/10/18
Necati Zontul

Six years on, Greece still needs to fix its law on torture

REDRESS has filed a submission with the Council of Europe addressing Greece’s failure to implement the 2012 decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Zontul v Greece. The decision found that Greek law was incompatible with the country’s international obligations to prevent and prosecute torture. Greece’s continuing failure to implement the Court’s decision has important implications for the ongoing torture and ill-treatment of migrants in Greece.

Background

Necati Zontul was tortured by officers of the Greek Coastguard while detained in a camp for asylum seekers in 2001. Following a flawed investigation and prosecution of the Coastguard officers responsible for Necati’s treatment by the Greek authorities, REDRESS assisted Necati in bringing a case against Greece at the European Court of Human Rights.

The Court found in favour of Necati in 2012, concluding that Greece had breached Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as a result of Necati’s torture and denial of reparations, as well as Greece’s failure to investigate and sanction the perpetrators appropriately.

Submission

REDRESS’s new submission is directed to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the body responsible for supervising the implementation of European Court of Human Rights decisions. It recommends that the Committee encourage Greece to:

  • ensure that investigations into torture in Greece are fully independent of the authorities accused of the torture
  • reform Greece’s law on torture to make it compatible with Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights and with Article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture
  • ensure that sanctions for torture and ill-treatment in Greece are sufficiently punitive.

These reforms are necessary to make sure that no others are subjected to the same migration-related torture that Necati had to suffer, and that those responsible for the torture of Necati and others are held to account for their actions. It is also important for Greece to show that it is complying with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and that it is meeting its obligations under international law.

REDRESS’s submission to the Committee of Ministers is available here.

More information about Necati’s case can be found here.

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