Domestic legislation prohibits the use of torture. According to Article 26 of the RA Constitution, no one may be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, corporal punishments shall be prohibited and persons deprived of their liberty shall have the right to humane treatment.
Article 309.1 of the RA Criminal Code establishes repsonsibility for torture. Torture is defined as: "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity".
Article 341, part 1, sets liability for a judge, prosecutor, investigator or person in charge of inquiry for forcing a false testimony, or a false finding from an expert, or a false translation from an interpreter, and part 2 of the same Article envisages an aggravating element the commission of the same action with torture. Article 309 (exceeding official authority) envisages the use of violence, weapons, or special devices as an aggravating circumstance.
Article 309.1 "Torture" of the RA Criminal Code is included in the Chapter on Crimes against State Service, where most of the crimes require a special actor, i.e. an official. Part 3 of Article 308 of the RA Criminal Code gives the definition of an official. The problem is that a person may be subjected to torture or other forms of inhuman treatment also by someone not considered an official by the domestic legislation. This, however, also constitutes torture or ill-treatment in terms of the international criteria.
For example, in a psychiatric institution, a person with mental health problems may be subjected to ill-treatment by a hospital attendant or medical personnel, who do not discharge functions of a government's representative or other organizational, managerial, or administrative functions, and therefore cannot be considered as perpetrators of torture per the domestic legislation. As a rule, in such cases, instead of torture, the action is qualified as a crime against a person's life or health. This approach, however, is not compatible wuth the absolute prohibition of torture.
This is also one of the main reasons why it is not possible to obtain exact statistics for all cases of torture and ill-treatment in the country.
From the viewpoint of the absolute prohibition of torture, it is unacceptable to exempt persons who have committed torture from criminal liability as a result of the expiration of the statute of limitations, amnesty, or pardon. In 2019, the RA Government, exercising its entitlement to initiate proposed legislation, presented a new draft Criminal Code to the RA National Assembly. The draft code offered to establish a prohibition on using statute of limitations and amnesty for cases of torture. However, this amendment has not yet been adopted, and the issue raised is still in place.