NGO letter to Victoria Parliament regarding United Nations Human Rights Committee Communication No. 1885/2009 (Horvath v Australia) – Update

October 22, 2014


Kim Wells MP, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, has responded outlining the changes made to legislation by the Victorian Government.  The response is available below.


The Shadow Attorney General, Martin Pakula MP has responded to the joint letter.  His response can be found below.


Thirteen Victorian and Australian legal, human rights and civil society organisations including ALHR have today called for a transparent review of both the new Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic) and the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic)  in order for Victoria to remedy its breaches of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’).

The letter, addressed to Premier Napthine, the Attorney General, and shadow ministers,  urges a substantive response by the State of Victoria to the recent findings of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the long-running case of Corinna Horvath.

Ms Corinna Horvath was brutally assaulted, along with her friends and partner, by a group of police during an unlawful raid on her home in March 1996. The police officers’ gross acts of violence left her with a fractured nose and tooth and rendered her unconscious, after which she was unlawfully arrested and detained.  Her injuries required surgery and five days in hospital.

Eighteen years later, in Horvath v Australia (2014), the Committee found that the State party is under an obligation to:

1) compensate Ms Horvath adequately; 2) to amend the law to guarantee that victims of police human rights abuses are adequately compensated; and 3) to ensure that police perpetrators of human rights violations are adequately disciplined through an independent, effective and impartial complaints body.

According to the joint letter, “Victoria’s inadequate response to complaints of misconduct by police has been a recurring issue in Victoria for decades and is damaging to not only community trust in police, but also public confidence in societal institutions.”

Australian Government has an obligation to respond to the UN Human Rights Committee by 23 September 2014.

An online copy of the Joint Letter can be found here (PDF).