integrity, punishable threats, dependent person abuse, causing bodily injury or forcing
another person by violence or unlawful threat into a specific behaviour, the extortion of
confessions by a public officer with the use of violence, unlawful threats and physical or
psychological abuse, as cited by the delegation of the State party, do not reflect the gravity
of such crimes adequately and render impossible fast and impartial investigations and the
imposition of appropriate penalties on the perpetrators;
That an attempt by the Ministry of Justice in 2017 to introduce a definition of
torture in the Penal Code was defeated at first reading in the Sejm (the lower house of
That the statute of limitations regarding acts of torture has not been
unequivocally repealed (arts. 1, 2 and 4).

The Committee:

Reiterates its previous recommendations to the State party and urges it
to take effective legislative measures to include torture as a separate and specific
crime in its Penal Code, and to adopt a definition of torture that covers all the
elements contained in article 1 of the Convention;
Urges the State party to ensure that penalties for torture are
commensurate with the gravity of this crime, as set out in article 4 (2) of the
Convention, which would also help to differentiate acts of torture from ill-treatment.
In addition, the State party should ensure that perpetrators of torture are punished in
accordance with the seriousness of the offence, in keeping with article 4 (2) of the
Once again draws attention to its general comment No. 2 (2007) on the
implementation of article 2, which states that serious discrepancies between the
Convention’s definition of torture and that incorporated into domestic law create
actual or potential loopholes for impunity (para. 9);
Urges the State party to ensure that the absolute prohibition of torture is
non-derogable and that acts of torture are not subject to any statute of limitations and
are not limited to those arising from crimes against humanity and extreme suffering
caused by an official;
Requests the State party to provide it with information regarding the
status and outcome of the analysis undertaken by the Ministry of Justice of whether
torture should be included in the Penal Code.
Status of the Convention in the domestic legal order
While taking note of the assertion that the Convention is directly applicable in the
State party, the Committee is concerned:
That, according to available information, the Convention was cited as a
source of law for the first and only time in a ruling by a judge of the Regional Court in
Lublin in 2018;
That the implementation of the Convention in the State party cannot but be
affected by reforms of the country’s judicial system, including those concerning the
Constitutional Tribunal, which hamper the constitutionally protected principle of judicial
independence and enable the legislative and executive branches to interfere with the
administration of justice, as noted in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the
independence of judges and lawyers on his mission to Poland (A/HRC/38/38/Add.1) (arts.
1, 2 and 4).

The State party should:

Clarify the nature of the Convention’s status in its domestic legal system
and ensure that provisions of the Convention are fully applicable in the national legal
order as a source of law;


Select target paragraph3