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European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or

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European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or

     European Treaty Series - No. 126

EUROPEAN CONVENTION

    FOR THE PREVENTION

    OF TORTURE AND INHUMAN

    OR DEGRADING TREATMENT

    OR PUNISHMENT

Strasbourg, 26.XI.1987

Text amended according to the provisions of Protocols No. 1 (ETS No. 151) and No.

    2 (ETS No. 152), which entered into force on 1 March 2002.

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    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

     The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,

     Having regard to the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and

    Fundamental Freedoms,

     Recalling that, under Article 3 of the same Convention, “no one shall be subjected to torture

    or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”;

     Noting that the machinery provided for in that Convention operates in relation to persons

    who allege that they are victims of violations of Article 3;

     Convinced that the protection of persons deprived of their liberty against torture and

    inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment could be strengthened by non-judicial

    means of a preventive character based on visits,

     Have agreed as follows:

Chapter I

     Article 1

     There shall be established a European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and

    Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereinafter referred to as “the

    Committee”). The Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons

    deprived of their liberty with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such

    persons from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

     Article 2

     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.

     Article 3

     In the application of this Convention, the Committee and the competent national authori-

    ties of the Party concerned shall co-operate with each other.

Chapter II

     Article 4

     1 The Committee shall consist of a number of members equal to that of the Parties.

     2 The members of the Committee shall be chosen from among persons of high moral

    character, known for their competence in the field of human rights or having professional

    experience in the areas covered by this Convention.

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     3 No two members of the Committee may be nationals of the same State.

     4 The members shall serve in their individual capacity, shall be independent and impartial,

    and shall be available to serve the Committee effectively.

     1 Article 5

     1 The members of the Committee shall be elected by the Committee of Ministers of the

    Council of Europe by an absolute majority of votes, from a list of names drawn up by the

    Bureau of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe; each national delegation of

    the Parties in the Consultative Assembly shall put forward three candidates, of whom two

    at least shall be its nationals.

     Where a member is to be elected to the Committee in respect of a non-member State of the

    Council of Europe, the Bureau of the Consultative Assembly shall invite the Parliament of

    that State to put forward three candidates, of whom two at least shall be its nationals. The

    election by the Committee of Ministers shall take place after consultation with the Party

    concerned.

     2 The same procedure shall be followed in filling casual vacancies.

     3 The members of the Committee shall be elected for a period of four years. They may be re-

    elected twice. However, among the members elected at the first election, the terms of three

    members shall expire at the end of two years. The members whose terms are to expire at

    the end of the initial period of two years shall be chosen by lot by the Secretary General of

    the Council of Europe immediately after the first election has been completed.

     4 In order to ensure that, as far as possible, one half of the membership of the Committee

    shall be renewed every two years, the Committee of Ministers may decide, before

    proceeding to any subsequent election, that the term or terms of office of one or more

    members to be elected shall be for a period other than four years but not more than six and

    not less than two years.

     5 In cases where more than one term of office is involved and the Committee of Ministers

    applies the preceding paragraph, the allocation of the terms of office shall be effected by the

    drawing of lots by the Secretary General, immediately after the election.

     Article 6

     1 The Committee shall meet in camera. A quorum shall be equal to the majority of its

    members. The decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a majority of the members

    present, subject to the provisions of Article 10, paragraph 2.

     2 The Committee shall draw up its own rules of procedure.

     3 The Secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the Secretary General of the Council

    of Europe.

Chapter III

1 Text amended according to the provisions of Protocols No. 1 (ETS No. 151) and No. 2 (ETS No. 152).

4 ETS 126 Prevention of torture, 26.XI.1987

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     Article 7

     1 The Committee shall organise visits to places referred to in Article 2. Apart from periodic

    visits, the Committee may organise such other visits as appear to it to be required in the

    circumstances.

     2 As a general rule, the visits shall be carried out by at least two members of the Committee.

    The Committee may, if it considers it necessary, be assisted by experts and interpreters.

     Article 8

     1 The Committee shall notify the Government of the Party concerned of its intention to carry

    out a visit. After such notification, it may at any time visit any place referred to in Article 2.

     2 A Party shall provide the Committee with the following facilities to carry out its task:

     a access to its territory and the right to travel without restriction;

     b full information on the places where persons deprived of their liberty are being held;

     c unlimited access to any place where persons are deprived of their liberty, including

    the right to move inside such places without restriction;

     d other information available to the Party which is necessary for the Committee to carry

    out its task. In seeking such information, the Committee shall have regard to

    applicable rules of national law and professional ethics.

     3 The Committee may interview in private persons deprived of their liberty.

     4 The Committee may communicate freely with any person whom it believes can supply

    relevant information.

     5 If necessary, the Committee may immediately communicate observations to the competent

    authorities of the Party concerned.

     Article 9

     1 In exceptional circumstances, the competent authorities of the Party concerned may make

    representations to the Committee against a visit at the time or to the particular place

    proposed by the Committee. Such representations may only be made on grounds of

    national defence, public safety, serious disorder in places where persons are deprived of

    their liberty, the medical condition of a person or that an urgent interrogation relating to a

    serious crime is in progress.

     2 Following such representations, the Committee and the Party shall immediately enter into

    consultations in order to clarify the situation and seek agreement on arrangements to

    enable the Committee to exercise its functions expeditiously. Such arrangements may

    include the transfer to another place of any person whom the Committee proposed to visit.

    Until the visit takes place, the Party shall provide information to the Committee about any

    person concerned.

     Article 10

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     1 After each visit, the Committee shall draw up a report on the facts found during the visit,

    taking account of any observations which may have been submitted by the Party concerned.

    It shall transmit to the latter its report containing any recommendations it considers

    necessary. The Committee may consult with the Party with a view to suggesting, if

    necessary, improvements in the protection of persons deprived of their liberty.

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     2 If the Party fails to co-operate or refuses to improve the situation in the light of the

    Committee's recommendations, the Committee may decide, after the Party has had an

    opportunity to make known its views, by a majority of two-thirds of its members to make a

    public statement on the matter.

     Article 11

     1 The information gathered by the Committee in relation to a visit, its report and its

    consultations with the Party concerned shall be confidential.

     2 The Committee shall publish its report, together with any comments of the Party concerned,

    whenever requested to do so by that Party.

     3 However, no personal data shall be published without the express consent of the person

    concerned.

     1 Article 12

     Subject to the rules of confidentiality in Article 11, the Committee shall every year submit

    to the Committee of Ministers a general report on its activities which shall be transmitted to

    the Consultative Assembly and to any non-member State of the Council of Europe which is

    a party to the Convention, and made public.

     Article 13

     The members of the Committee, experts and other persons assisting the Committee are

    required, during and after their terms of office, to maintain the confidentiality of the facts

    or information of which they have become aware during the discharge of their functions

     Article 14

     1 The names of persons assisting the Committee shall be specified in the notification under

    Article 8, paragraph 1.

     2 Experts shall act on the instructions and under the authority of the Committee. They shall

    have particular knowledge and experience in the areas covered by this Convention and

    shall be bound by the same duties of independence, impartiality and availability as the

    members of the Committee.

     3 A Party may exceptionally declare that an expert or other person assisting the Committee

    may not be allowed to take part in a visit to a place within its jurisdiction.

Chapter IV

     Article 15

     Each Party shall inform the Committee of the name and address of the authority competent

    to receive notifications to its Government, and of any liaison officer it may appoint.

1 Text amended according to the provisions of Protocol No. 1 (ETS No. 151).

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     Article 16

     The Committee, its members and experts referred to in Article 7, paragraph 2 shall enjoy

    the privileges and immunities set out in the annex to this Convention.

     Article 17

     1 This Convention shall not prejudice the provisions of domestic law or any international

    agreement which provide greater protection for persons deprived of their liberty.

     2 Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating from the

    competence of the organs of the European Convention on Human Rights or from the

    obligations assumed by the Parties under that Convention.

     3 The Committee shall not visit places which representatives or delegates of Protecting

    Powers or the International Committee of the Red Cross effectively visit on a regular basis

    by virtue of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 8

    June 1977 thereto.

Chapter V

     1 Article 18

     1 This Convention shall be open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe.

    It is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or

    approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

     2 The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may invite any non-member State of

    the Council of Europe to accede to the Convention.

     1 Article 19

     1 This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration

    of a period of three months after the date on which seven member States of the Council of

    Europe have expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention in accordance with the

    provisions of Article 18.

     2 In respect of any State which subsequently expresses its consent to be bound by it, the

    Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a

    period of three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification,

    acceptance, approval or accession.

     1 Article 20

     1 Any State may at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification,

    acceptance, approval or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this

    Convention shall apply.

1 Text amended according to the provisions of Protocol No. 1 (ETS No. 151).

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     2 Any State may at any later date, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the

    Council of Europe, extend the application of this Convention to any other territory

    specified in the declaration. In respect of such territory the Convention shall enter into force

    on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the

    date of receipt of such declaration by the Secretary General.

     3 Any declaration made under the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory

    specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to the Secretary

    General. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the

    expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such notification by the

    Secretary General.

     Article 21

     No reservation may be made in respect of the provisions of this Convention.

     Article 22

     1 Any Party may, at any time, denounce this Convention by means of a notification

    addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

     2 Such denunciation shall become effective on the first day of the month following the

    expiration of a period of twelve months after the date of receipt of the notification by the

    Secretary General.

     1 Article 23

     The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States and any non-

    member State of the Council of Europe party to the Convention of:

     a any signature;

     b the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession;

     c any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Articles 19 and 20;

     d any other act, notification or communication relating to this Convention, except for

    action taken in pursuance of Articles 8 and 10.

     In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this

    Convention.

     Done at Strasbourg, the 26 November 1987, in English and French, both texts being equally

    authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe.

    The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each

    member State of the Council of Europe.

1 Text amended according to the provisions of Protocol No. 1 (ETS No. 151).

9 ETS 126 Prevention of torture, 26.XI.1987

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Annex

     Privileges and immunities

     (Article 16)

     1 For the purpose of this annex, references to members of the Committee shall be deemed to

    include references to experts mentioned in Article 7, paragraph 2.

     2 The members of the Committee shall, while exercising their functions and during journeys

    made in the exercise of their functions, enjoy the following privileges and immunities:

     a immunity from personal arrest or detention and from seizure of their personal

    baggage and, in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in their

    official capacity, immunity from legal process of every kind;

     b exemption from any restrictions on their freedom of movement on exit from and

    return to their country of residence, and entry into and exit from the country in which

    they exercise their functions, and from alien registration in the country which they are

    visiting or through which they are passing in the exercise of their functions.

     3 In the course of journeys undertaken in the exercise of their functions, the members of the

    Committee shall, in the matter of customs and exchange control, be accorded:

     a by their own Government, the same facilities as those accorded to senior officials

    travelling abroad on temporary official duty;

     b by the Governments of other Parties, the same facilities as those accorded to

    representatives of foreign Governments on temporary official duty.

     4 Documents and papers of the Committee, in so far as they relate to the business of the

    Committee, shall be inviolable.

     The official correspondence and other official communications of the Committee may not

    be held up or subjected to censorship.

     5 In order to secure for the members of the Committee complete freedom of speech and

    complete independence in the discharge of their duties, the immunity from legal process in

    respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in discharging their duties

    shall continue to be accorded, notwithstanding that the persons concerned are no longer

    engaged in the discharge of such duties.

     6 Privileges and immunities are accorded to the members of the Committee, not for the

    personal benefit of the individuals themselves but in order to safeguard the independent

    exercise of their functions. The Committee alone shall be competent to waive the immunity

    of its members; it has not only the right, but is under a duty, to waive the immunity of one

    of its members in any case where, in its opinion, the immunity would impede the course of

    justice, and where it can be waived without prejudice to the purpose for which the

    immunity is accorded.

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