European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Focus on Prevention
The Convention for the Prevention of Torture is a special type of human rights treaty since its main focus lies on prevention. Based on Art. 3 ECHR which prohibits torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Convention established a committee of independent experts, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). It is authorized to access all places in which people are detained (such as prisons, police stations, mental institutions, youth centres or homes for asylum seekers). After its inspections, the Committee hands over a confidential report to the respective state which contains recommendations on how to amend the situation in the institutions visited. As a rule, the contractual states allow the publication of the reports. The aim of the Committee, therefore, is to assist states in preventing ill treatment rather than to prosecute violations of the convention that have already happened.
The Committee can furthermore issue public statements if a country refuses to live up to the recommendations of the report. It has already done so in the case of Turkey, documenting and denouncing the fact that torture is still practised in this country.
The Convention not only provides for a Committee but also for a Secretariat, the members of which are provided by the CoE’s «Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs».
In 1993, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has been amended by two additional protocols. Protocol No. 1 allows the CoE Committee of Ministers to invite states which are not members of the CoE to accede to the Convention. Protocol No. 2 amends Article 5, which governs election procedure to the CPT. Both entered into force on 1 March 2002.
- Protocol No. 1
to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - Entry into force: 1 March 2002
- Protocol No. 2
to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – Entry into force 1 March 2002
- Text of the Convention and Explanatory Report (pdf, 36 p.)
Document compiled by the CoE Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)