European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the member states of the Council of Europe, meeting at Strasbourg on 26 November 1987.[1] After the European Convention on Human Rights, the Convention for the Prevention of Torture is widely regarded as being one of the most important of the Council of Europe's treaties. The Convention marks a fresh and preventive approach in handling human rights violations.[2] It was subsequently amended by two Protocols. Additionally, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture was established to comply with the provisions of the convention.[1] This body is enabled to visit any place within the jurisdiction of the states' parties where people are deprived of their liberty in line with the articles of the convention.[1]

European Convention for the Prevention of Torture
SignedNovember 26, 1987
LocationStrasbourg
EffectiveFebruary 1, 1989
PartiesCouncil of Europe Member States
LanguagesEnglish, French,

As of 2020, the convention has been ratified by all 47 of the Council of Europe's member states. Furthermore, the ratification of the convention has become a pre-condition for all states who have joined the Council of Europe in the last few years.[3]

HistoryEdit

ObjectiveEdit

At the time of its publishing, the convention was groundbreaking, as it was the first instrument capable of enforcing compliance with the obligations it created. Therefore, the objective was to create a document which would ensure adequate consequences are presented to those who do not abide by it.[2] Despite the existence of core publications such as the United Nations Charter or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these documents simply could not stop or remedy violations in a rigorous way. The key was thus to prevent torture altogether.[2]

BackgroundEdit

The origins of the Conventions date to a proposal by Jean-Jacques Gautier in 1976.[2] Gautier was the founder of the Swiss Committee against Torture. He was inspired by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who conducted visits to places where prisoners of war were held. He suggested that the conditions of prisoners were improved. However, the ICRC (at the time) had the power to conduct such visits only in case of international armed conflict between states parties to the Geneva Conventions. Gautier thus proposed to extend this system of visits to include all other places where individuals are deprived of their liberty, such as prisons, police stations, psychiatric institutions and remand centres.[2] This proposal then formed the basis of a draft which would eventually become the International Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.[2] The draft was submitted in April 1980 to be evaluated by the Commission on Human Rights, the body which would come to draft the UN Convention.[2]

Gautier's ideas were then taken by the Council of Europe to be realised, at least at the regional level. Eventually, in June 1983, a report was produced with a draft European Convention on the Protection of Detainees from Torture and from Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The report was accepted by the Consultative Assembly in September 1983.[2] Several years of debate followed, including discussions regarding the views of the European Commission and Court of Human Rights. An agreed draft was finally concluded in June 1986, which was transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, who ultimately adopted it on June 26, 1987.[2] It was opened for signature on November 26, 1987. At the time, the convention was signed by all of the 21 member states of the Council of Europe.[2] As of 2020, it has been signed by all 47 member states of the council. It is also open for accession by non-member States.[3]

ActorsEdit

This section serves as an overview of the actors which actively contributed to creating the convention.

Convention ArticlesEdit

Hereby is a selection of the most significant Articles of the Convention which outline the core values of the document.

Article 1Edit

The primary and opening article of the Convention depicts the need for the establishment for a European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. For the remainder of the document, it is referred to as "the Committee".

"The Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty".[1] If deemed necessary, the committee is to strengthen their protection from torture.

Article 2Edit

Article 2 emphasises that each Member State in accordance with the Convention shall permit visits to a place within its jurisdiction where people are deprived of their liberty. This is under the condition that the liberty is taken by a public authority.

"Each Party shall permit visits, in accordance with this Convention, to any place within its jurisdiction where persons are deprived of their liberty by a public authority"[1]

Article 8Edit

Article 8 states that if in need of a particular visit, the committee is to notify the Government of the Member State concerned. Only after that can it visit any place as referred to in Article 2.

"The following facilities must be provided to the Committee to carry out the task:"

  • "access to its territory and the right to travel without restriction"
  • "full information regarding where those deprived of liberty are being held"
  • "unlimited access to any place where persons are deprived of their liberty"
    • "this includes the right to move inside such places without restriction"
  • "any other relevant information deemed necessary for the Committee to carry out its task"
    • "noting that when seeking this information, the Committee must abide by national laws and professional ethics"
  • "the Committee may interview those deprived of liberty in private"
  • "the Committee may communicate freely with any person whom it believed to supply relevant information"
  • "If necessary, the Committee may immediately communicate observations to the competent authorities of the Party concerned"[1]

Article 10Edit

"Each visit should be accompanied by a drawn up report by the Committee regarding the facts found during the visit".[1]

  • "This should account for any observations which may have been submitted by the Party concerned. Any recommendations are to be transmitted to the Party. If necessary, the Committee is to suggest improvements in the protection of persons deprived of their liberty"[1]

"If the Party refuses to co-operate or improve the conditions of those deprived of their liberty, the Committee may decide to make a public statement on the matter".[1]

Article 11Edit

"The information gathered by the Committee regarding its visits, report and consultations is to remain confidential."[1]

Only at the request of the Party concerned is the Committee allowed to publish the report.[1]

No personal data can be published without the consent of the person concerned.[1]

Article 18Edit

The convention is open for signature by all member states of the Council of Europe. It is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of any of these actions are to be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.[1]

Non-members states of the Council of Europe may be invited to accede to the convention by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.[1]

Convention ProtocolsEdit

Protocol No. 1 (ETS No. 151)Edit

The first Protocol was adopted November 4, 1993.[4] The Protocol "opens" the convention by providing that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may invite any non-member State to accede to it.[4] It is now an inherent characteristic to the convention, despite the fact that only member States are signatories as of May 2020.[3]

Protocol No. 2 (ETS No. 152)Edit

Protocol No. 2 was adopted November 4, 1993[5] and introduced amendments of a technical nature. The committee is now provisioned to be placed in "one of two groups for election purposes".[5] This is to ensure that at least one half of the committee's members is renewed every two years. The Protocol also allows members of the committee to be re-elected twice, instead of only once.[5]

Member states participantsEdit

AlbaniaEdit

  • Convention signed October 2, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified October 2, 1996[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1997[3]

AndorraEdit

  • Convention signed September 10, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified January 1, 1997[3]
  • Convention entered into force January 5, 1997[3]

ArmeniaEdit

  • Convention signed May 11, 2001[3]
  • Convention ratified June 18, 2002[3]
  • Convention entered into force October 10, 2002[3]

AustriaEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified January 6, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force May 1, 1989[3]

AzerbaijanEdit

  • Convention signed December 21, 2001[3]
  • Convention ratified April 15, 2002[3]
  • Convention entered into force August 1, 2002[3]
    • However, Azerbaijan declares that it is "unable to guarantee the application of the provisions of the Convention" in territories occupied by the Republic of Armenia until those territories are liberated from that occupation[6]

BelgiumEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified July 23, 1991[3]
  • Convention entered into force November 1, 1991[3]

Bosnia and HerzegovinaEdit

  • Convention signed July 12, 2002[3]
  • Convention ratified July 12, 2002[3]
  • Convention entered into force November 1, 2002[3]

BulgariaEdit

  • Convention signed September 30, 1993[3]
  • Convention ratified May 3, 1994[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1994[3]

CroatiaEdit

  • Convention signed November 6, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified October 11, 1997[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1998[3]

CyprusEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified April 3, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force August 1, 1989[3]

Czech RepublicEdit

  • Convention signed December 23, 1992[3]
  • Convention ratified September 7, 1995[3]
  • Convention entered into force January 1, 1996[3]

DenmarkEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified May 2, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1989[3]

EstoniaEdit

  • Convention signed June 28, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified November 6, 1996[3]
  • Convention entered into force March 1, 1997[3]

FinlandEdit

  • Convention signed November 16, 1989[3]
  • Convention ratified December 20, 1990[3]
  • Convention entered into force April 1, 1991[3]

FranceEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified January 9, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force May 1, 1989[3]

GeorgiaEdit

  • Convention signed February 16, 2000[3]
  • Convention ratified June 20, 2000[3]
  • Convention entered into force October 1, 2000[3]
    • However, Georgia states it will "not be responsible for violations of the provisions of the Convention and the safety of the members of the Committee"[6]
      • This applies solely to the territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinval region, until the territorial integrity of Georgia is fully restored and control over these territories is carried out by "legitimate authorities"[6]

GermanyEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified February 21, 1990[3]
  • Convention entered into force June 1, 1990[3]

GreeceEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified August 2, 1991[3]
  • Convention entered into force December 1, 1991[3]

HungaryEdit

  • Convention signed February 9, 1993[3]
  • Convention ratified November 4, 1993[3]
  • Convention entered into force March 1, 1994[3]

IcelandEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified June 19, 1990[3]
  • Convention entered into force October 1, 1990[3]

IrelandEdit

  • Convention signed March 14, 1988[3]
  • Convention ratified March 14, 1999[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

ItalyEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified December 29, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force April 1, 1989[3]
    • Italy declares that paragraph 2(a) of the Annex on Privileges and Immunities is not to be interpreted as "excluding any police or customs check of the luggage of the members of the Committee"[6]
    • This is assuming that the check is carried out whilst complying with the rules on confidentiality as established in Article 11 of the Convention[6]

LatviaEdit

  • Convention signed September 11, 1997[3]
  • Convention ratified February 10, 1998[3]
  • Convention entered into force June 1, 1998[3]

LiechtensteinEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified September 12, 1991[3]
  • Convention entered into force January 1, 1992[3]

LithuaniaEdit

  • Convention signed September 14, 1995[3]
  • Convention ratified November 26, 1998[3]
  • Convention entered into force March 1, 1999[3]

LuxembourgEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified September 6, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force February, 1989[3]

MaltaEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified March 7, 1998[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

Republic of MoldovaEdit

  • Convention signed May 5, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified October 2, 1997[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1998[3]

MonacoEdit

  • Convention signed November 30, 2005[3]
  • Convention ratified November 30, 2005[3]
  • Convention entered into force March 1, 2006[3]

MontenegroEdit

  • Convention signed March 3, 2004[3]
  • Convention ratified March 3, 2004[3]
  • Convention entered into force June 6, 2006[3]

NetherlandsEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified October 12, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

North MacedoniaEdit

  • Convention signed June 14, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified June 6, 1997[3]
  • Convention entered into force October 1, 1997[3]

NorwayEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified April 21, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force August 1, 1989[3]

PolandEdit

  • Convention signed July 11, 1994[3]
  • Convention ratified October 10, 1994[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1995[3]

PortugalEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified March 29, 1990[3]
  • Convention entered into force July 1, 1990[3]

RomaniaEdit

  • Convention signed November 4, 1993[3]
  • Convention ratified October 4, 1994[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1995[3]

Russian FederationEdit

  • Convention signed February 28, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified May 5, 1998[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1998[3]

San MarinoEdit

  • Convention signed November 16, 1989[3]
  • Convention ratified January 31, 1990[3]
  • Convention entered into force May 1, 1990[3]

SerbiaEdit

  • Convention signed March 3, 2004[3]
  • Convention ratified March 3, 2004[3]
  • Convention entered into force July 1, 2004[3]

Slovak RepublicEdit

  • Convention signed December 23, 1992[3]
  • Convention ratified May 11, 1994[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1994[3]

SloveniaEdit

  • Convention signed November 4, 1993[3]
  • Convention ratified February 2, 1994[3]
  • Convention entered into force June 1, 1994[3]

SpainEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified May 2, 1989[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1989[3]

SwedenEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified June 21, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

SwitzerlandEdit

  • Convention signed November 26, 1987[3]
  • Convention ratified October 7, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

TurkeyEdit

  • Convention signed January 11, 1988[3]
  • Convention ratified February 26, 1988[3]
  • Convention entered into force February 1, 1989[3]

UkraineEdit

  • Convention signed May 2, 1996[3]
  • Convention ratified May 5, 1997[3]
  • Convention entered into force September 1, 1997[3]

United KingdomEdit

Non-member states participantsEdit

Currently, the list of signatories includes only the member states of the Council of Europe. It is open for signature to non-member states, however none have done so as of the year 2020.[3]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Council of Europe (2002). "European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". European Treaty Series - No. 126.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cassese, Antonio (1989). "A New Approach to Human Rights: The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture". The American Journal of International Law. 83 (1): 128–153. doi:10.2307/2202800. JSTOR 2202800.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq "Chart of signatures and ratifications of Treaty 126". Council of Europe. May 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Details of Treaty No. 151". Council of Europe. May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Details of Treaty No. 152". Council of Europe. May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Reservations and Declarations for Treaty No.126 - European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". Council of Europe. May 15, 2020.