6.3 In court, the author’s son retracted his confession because it had been obtained under torture. On 7 April 2003, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court dismissed his claim on the ground that in court, the policemen suspected of having tortured him denied any wrongdoing, and because the author’s son “did not present to the court any unquestionable evidence that he was beaten by [the] police officers”. The court did not take into account that those policemen were cautioned afterwards for their unlawful acts (paragraph 2.2 above), holding that the signature on the copy of the order confirming their sanctions was illegible. On appeal, the court did not address these claims. The Committee notes that the above claims relate primarily to the evaluation of facts and evidence. It recalls its jurisprudence that it is generally for the courts of States parties to the Covenant to evaluate facts and evidence in a particular case, unless it can be ascertained that it was clearly arbitrary or amounted to a denial of justice. In the present case, the facts presented by the author clearly demonstrate that the Supreme Court acted in a biased and arbitrary manner with respect to the complaints related to the author’s son’s torture during the preliminary detention, because of the summary and unreasoned rejection of the evidence, properly and clearly documented by the author, that he had been tortured. In their effect, the action of the courts placed the burden of proof on the author, whereas the general principle is that the burden of proof that the confession was made without duress is on the prosecution. The Committee concludes that the treatment of Mr. Kurbonov during his preliminary detention, and the manner the courts addressed his subsequent claims to this effect, amounts to a violation of article 7 and of article 14, paragraph 1, of the Covenant. In light of this finding, the Committee considers unnecessary separately to examine the claim made under article 10.
6.4 In light of the above finding, the Committee concludes that the author’s son’s rights under article 14, paragraph 3 (g), have also been violated, as he was compelled to confess guilt to a crime.
Comitetul Drepturilor Omului
(Kurbanov împotriva Tadjikistan, cererea nr. 1208/03, disponibilă aici)