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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Torture in the 21st Century Experiences of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak Professor for International Human Rights Protection, University of Vienna Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Torture in the 21st CenturyExperiences of the UN Special Rapporteur on TortureManfred NowakProfessor for International Human Rights Protection, University of ViennaDirector, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, ViennaUN Special Rapporteur on Torture

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

OVERVIEW

  • Definition of Torture (Art 1 CAT)
  • Development of International Legal Instruments
  • Prohibition of Torture as an absolute and non-derogable Right
  • Combating Impunity
  • Prevention of Torture
  • RightofVictimsofTorturetoRemedyand Reparation
  • Strengthening of international monitoring
  • The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
  • Fact-Finding Missions - Terms of Reference / Overview / Country Examples
  • Lessons Learned
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

1. DEFINITION OF TORTURE (ART. 1 CAT)a) Causing of severe physical and/or mental pain or sufferingb) State responsibilityc) Intention; applied to achieve a certain purpose (confession, information, intimidation, discrimination…) d) Powerlessness, defenselessness of the victim, which is completely in the torturer’s power (especially during detention)→ direct attack on the victim’s dignity and personal integrity→ specific form of violence→ examples: „Palestinian Hanging” Abu-Ghraib (prisoner at dog leash)

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • 2. DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AGAINST TORTURE
  • After World War II:
  • Article 5 UDHR 1948
  • Article 3 ECHR 1950
  • Article 7 CCPR 1966
  • Article 5 ACHR 1969
  • 1970s:
  • Systematic practice of torture in many parts of the world, in particular during the military dictatorships in Latin America.Campaign against Torture by Amnesty International and other NGOs
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

3. PROHIBITION OF TORTURE AS AN ABSOLUTE AND NON-DEROGABLE RIGHT IN INTERNATIONAL LAWa) Absolute vs. Relative Rightse.g. freedom of expression, right to life, prohibition of torture and slavery;b) Non-derogable vs. Other Rights e.g. personal liberty, right to life (Art. 15 ECHR), prohibition of torture, prohibition of retro-activity of penal laws;c) Torture vs. Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CIDT)“relativity” of CIDT (principle of proportionality)d) Reasons for the special Protection of the Prohibition of Torture as Ius CogensMiddle Ages → gradual elimination from criminal law National Socialism → absolute prohibition Chile → special protection mechanisms (criminal law, prevention, victim protection, fact finding) Bosnia → international criminal tribunals, systematic torture as a crime against humanity;

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • 4. COMBATING IMPUNITY
  • a) Declaration against Torture 1975
  • b) Convention against Torture (CAT) 1984
    • Article 4: Obligation to criminalize torture
    • Article 5-9: Territorial, personal and universal jurisdiction
  • c) Rome Statute of an International Criminal Court 1998
    • Systematic or widespread practice of torture as crime against humanity
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • 5. PREVENTION OF TORTURE
  • a) Convention against Torture 1984
    • Article 3: non-refoulement
    • Article 10: training of law enforcement personnel
    • Article 11: modernization of interrogation techniques
    • Article 15: non-applicability of information extracted by torture
  • b) Preventive visits to places of detention
    • ICRC
    • Jean-Jacques Gautier
    • Draft Costa Rica Protocol 1980
    • European Convention for the Prevention of Torture 1987
    • OPCAT 2002
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

6. RIGHT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE TO REMEDY AND REPARATION

ConventionagainstTorture 1984

Article 13: „Righttocomplainto, andtohavehiscasepromptlyandimpartiallyexaminedby, itscompetentauthorities“

Article 14: Rightofvictimstoadequatereparation, includingcompensationandfullrehabilitation

Article 14: Obligation of States partiestomake this rightenforceablein its legal system: universal civiljurisdiction?

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • 7. STRENGHTENING OF INTERNATIONAL MONITORING
  • a) UN Committee against Torture monitoring States parties to CAT:
    • since 1987
    • State reporting procedure
    • Inter-State complaints procedure
    • Individual complaints procedure
    • Inquiry procedure
  • b) UN Special Rapporteur against Torture monitoring all States:
    • since 1985
    • Individual communications & Fact finding missions
    • Reporting and awareness raising
  • c) UN Sub-Committee on Prevention: since 2006
  • Preventive visits to all places of detention
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

8. THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON TORTURE

  • UN Special Procedures
    • Country-specific and thematic mandates
    • Serve in their individual capacity
    • Independent, impartial Experts
  • Tasks
    • Fact Finding Missions (see next slide)
    • Communications: Urgent Appeals & Letters of Allegations
    • Reports to UN General Assembly & Human Rights Council
    • Promotion of OPCAT and other preventive mechanisms
  • Created by UN Commission on Human Rights (Res 1985/33)
  • Appointed by Commission on Human Rights/Human Rights Council
  • 3 years with one possible renewal
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • 9. FACT-FINDING MISSIONS - TERMS OF REFERENCE
  • Invitation of the State
  • Terms of Reference
    • Freedom of movement
    • Freedom of inquiry
      • Access to all places of detention (unannounced visits)
      • Contacts with all branches of government;
      • Contacts with representatives of NGOs, other private institutions and the media;
      • Confidential and unsupervised interviews with victims, witnesses and detainees;
      • Full access to all documentary material
    • Assurance by the Government against reprisals
    • Appropriate security arrangements
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

9. Fact-finding Missions - Overview

Denmark & Greenland

May 08

Moldova

July 08

Georgia Feb. 05

Jordan

June 06

(Russia)

Oct. 06

GreeceApril 10

Kazakhstan

May 09

Cuba

Autumn 10

MongoliaJune 05

Guantanamo

Feb. 06

ChinaNov. 05

Jamaica

Feb. 10

NepalSept. 05

Paraguay

Oct. 06

Papua New GuineaMay 10

Uruguay

March 09

IndonesiaNov. 07

Sri LankaOct. 07

(Zimbabwe)Oct. 09

Equatorial GuineaNov. 08

Nigeria

March 07

Togo

April 07

Sudan

Oct. 06

9 fact finding missions china
9. FACT-FINDING MISSIONS - CHINA

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Municipal Women’s “Reeducation Through Labor” Camps

Xinjiangxinjiang Prison

Ms. Rebiya Kadeer 

Tibet – Qushui prison Director

9 fact finding missions mongolia
9. FACT-FINDING MISSIONS - MONGOLIA

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

10 lessons learned
10. LESSONS LEARNED

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

  • Team composition
    • Human Rights Experts
    • Forensic Expert
    • Interpreters (local dialects?!)
    • Gender Balance
  • Importance of forensic medical expertise
    • Forensic doctor as team member
    • Own contribution during Government debriefing
    • Usage of photos without disclosing victim’s identity
  • Importance of cooperating with the NGO sector
    • Most important source of information
    • Huge diversity
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

10. LESSONS LEARNED (cont.)

  • Access to the facility
    • Lack of information or malevolent delay
    • Courtesy vs. Effectiveness
    • Letter of Authorization
    • Phone number of superior (e.g. Minister of Interior)
    • Information leaflet
  • Schedule of Visits to Places of Detention
    • Prison Register and Documents
    • Disciplinary Cells
    • Protection of victims and witnesses
    • First Prisons, then Police Stations
  • Use of technology in detention facilities
    • Audio & video recording devices
    • High resolution photo cameras (name tags, blackboards…)
letter of authorization
LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

10. LESSONS LEARNED (cont.)

  • Interviewing
    • Selection of place for interview
    • Conduct of interview
    • Compassionate interviewing vs. time constraints
    • Confidentiality v. reporting => Risks for detainees
    • Informed consent
    • Follow-up possible?
  • Be prepared for “smoking guns”
    • How to react when discovering ongoing torture?
    • Ensure proper Follow-up
  • Cultural/social diversity
    • “What’s the UN?” “UN Special Rapporteur?”
    • Same words - different meaning, e.g. “detainee”
    • Adapt language to local particularities
    • Different Understanding of Justice => how far to get involved into a case?
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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Thank you for your attention.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, OHCHR/Genevahttp://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/torture/rapporteur

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Viennahttp://bim.lbg.ac.at

Atlas of Torturehttp://www.atlas-of-torture.org