Article 7(1) of the 1960 Constitution (as amended), "Every person has the right to life and corporal integrity." According to Article 7(3):
Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary
a. in defence of person or property against the infliction of a proportionate and otherwise unavoidable and irreparable evil;
b. in order to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
c. in action taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection, when and as provided by law.
Police use of lethal force purely to protect property is not permissible under international law.
Article 8 of the Constitution provides that: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment."
Article 21 addresses the right to freedom of assembly. Under paragraph 1 of that provision: "Every person has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly." Paragraph 3 provides that no restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of this right
other than such as are prescribed by law and are absolutely necessary only in the interests of the security of the Republic or the constitutional order or the public safety or the public order or the public health or the public morals or for the protection of the rights and liberties guaranteed by this Constitution to any person, whether or not such person participates in such assembly or is a member of such association.
Article 130(1) of the Constitution stipulates that the "security forces of the Republic shall consist of the police and gendarmerie".
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||Yes|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
|1950 European Convention on Human Rights||State Party|
Police Use of Force
The Cyprus Police is the national law enforcement agency of the Republic of Cyprus, operating under the Ministry of Justice and Public Order. The duties and responsibilities of the Police are set out in the amended Police Law (No. 73(1)) of 2004 and include the maintenance of law and order, the prevention and detection of crime, as well as arresting and bringing offenders to justice. Article 2 of the 2001 Code of Police Ethics stipulates that:
The duty of Cyprus Police is to protect and respect fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined by the European Convention on Human Rights and to provide assistance and service functions to the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus or any other person within the territory of the Republic.
Article 32 of the 2001 Code provides that:
The Police use force only when strictly necessary and only to the extent required to obtain a legitimate objective. They always act within the limits of the law and always verify the lawfulness of their intended actions before and during the execution of their duties.
The 1959 Police Law--colonial-era legislation--is still in force in Cyprus.
Cyprus has established an independent police oversight body: the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police (IAIACP). The IAIACP is made up of five members appointed by the Council of Ministers for a five-year term.
In its 2019 Concluding Observations on Cyprus, the UN Committee against Torture called on the authorities to:
Ensure that the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police discharges its mandate with full independence and that its investigations are accompanied by the suspension or transfer of accused police agents for the duration of the investigation.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2019 Concluding Observations on Cyprus, the Committee against Torture remained concerned at
reports of the use of force by law enforcement officials in places of deprivation of liberty, in particular at the Limassol and Paphos central police stations, and at reported incidents of death, suicide, attempted suicide, verbal abuse, racist behaviour and psychological ill-treatment in police stations, as well as threats of reprisals for making complaints regarding such incidents in places of detention, including police stations.
In its 2015 Concluding Observations on Cyprus, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern
about reports of excessive use of force by police officers during acts of arrest and detention, including the use of tear gas against migrants and asylum seekers held at the Menoyia detention facility, in 2013. It is also concerned that no information has been provided on subsequent measures taken to investigate those incidents and prosecute and punish those responsible
Despite measures taken by Cyprus to combat torture and ill-treatment by the police, the Committee was also concerned
about the limited data available on complaints of torture and ill-treatment as well as the small number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sanctions for perpetrators of such acts....
In 2018, the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that: "the persistent division of the island still hinders the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including with regard to the right to life".
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), following its 2017 periodic visit to Cyprus, stated that persons detained by the police, and particularly foreign nationals, continue to run a risk of being physically and/or psychologically ill-treated, notably at the moment of apprehension, during questioning and in the context of removal operations.
The CPT also stated that the investigations carried out by the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police were ineffective. It stated
that improvements to the system of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by police officers were urgently required.
Khani Kabbara v. Cyprus (2018)
This case concerned alleged ill-treatment by the Cyprus Police. The Court took note of inconsistencies in the applicant's statements which were highlighted by the domestic authorities in their investigation:
Amongst other things, the CCTV footage contradicts his version of events when he was approached at the ATM by Senior Constable G.S., who was in police uniform. Furthermore, the Court is not convinced that the alleged beatings, which according to the applicant were inflicted on him by a number of officers for about four hours, and included hitting him with a metal chair and a wooden bat as well as punching and kicking, would not have left more serious injuries than those described in the medical reports. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the applicant did indeed suffer a number of injuries the existence of which was not denied by the Government and which were sufficiently serious as to amount to ill-treatment....
...In view of the deficiencies in the domestic investigation, the Government have not been able to show that the applicant’s injuries were actually sustained during his arrest and as a result of his own conduct or the intensity of his resistance. Thus, the Court finds that the Government have failed to discharge their burden of providing a satisfactory and convincing explanation....