Investigation during holding in custody

Various investigative activities may be carried out during the custody period, but these have to be done lawfully and respecting your human rights.

Investigative activities

When you are hold in custody, you are a suspect or an accused person in the criminal proceedings. During the period of your custody, the police or the prosecution may need to carry out some investigative activities to prepare the case. For example, they may interrogate you or ask you to participate in the confrontation or recognition of an object or person. You can read more about the investigative activities in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Investigation & Forceful methods

It is very important to know that during these investigative activities the authorities involved must not treat you in an inhumane or degrading way, or torture you. For example, this means that they must not beat you or threaten to beat you to get your confession. But, the authorities may force you to comply with your duties under the law. For instance, you must allow an expert to collect samples such as DNA for testing. If you do not cooperate, the authorities may obtain these samples forcefully. But it is important to know that they must not use more force than necessary to obtain these samples.

Body searches

Body searches are sometimes necessary during your custody and are, therefore, allowed by law. However, if you are searched, this must be done by a person of the same gender as you. Body searches must not be carried out for the sole purpose of humiliating you.

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment

Mistreatment during the investigation may violate the prohibition on inhumane or degrading treatment, or torture. However, every time you feel humiliated does not mean that you are being treated in an inhumane or degrading manner. You may feel humiliated simply by being held in custody and thus feeling helpless and vulnerable.

The mistreatment has to reach at least a minimum level of severity in order to result in a human rights violation. When assessing whether you have been treated in an inhumane or degrading way, such things as the duration of the mistreatment, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and the condition of your health would be taken into account. For mistreatment to be considered torture, the actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Right to life

If the police use excessive, unnecessary force, which results in the loss of life of the person taken into custody, it may result in a violation of the right to life. Read more about how to evaluate whether right to life has been violated. 


Last updated 24/07/2017