Update: 28.05.2014

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) - Implementation in Switzerland

Adopted on 18 December 2002
Entry into force on 22 Juin 2006
Ratified by 72 States (as at 27 May 2014; current count)

For Switzerland:
SR 0.105.1 (AS / RO 2009 5449)
Ratified on 24 September 2009
Entry into force on 24 October 2009
Dispatch of 8 December 2006: BBl 2007 265 (in German) / FF 2007 261 (in French)

Official Text

Text: English / French / German / Italian

On the treaty

By ratifying the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, the signatory states commit themselves to grant to the UN Subcommittee unlimited access to all places where persons are living in a state of imprisonment. In addition, the states have to create an independent national commission to preventively assure that no cases of torture or the like occur in any prison or other detention centre.

Implementation of the Treaty in Switzerland

In March 2009, the parliament approved the ratification of the Treaty and passed a federal act providing for a corresponding commission and regulating its competences. It is granted access to all places and institutions of detention and can visit them without prior notice. It can talk in detail to detained persons and everyone else who can give relevant information without any further witness. Detention of a person implies any kind of confinement in a public or private institution which cannot be left at one's own will.

On 21 October, the Federal Council has appointed the Commission for the Prevention of Torture composed of twelve members from the medicinal and legal fields as well as from the criminal prosecution and penal system sectors which are appointed for four years. From an administrative point of view, the Commission is part of the Federal Department of Jutice and Police (FDJP)

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