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European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)--Fundamentals, Structure, Objectives, Potentialities, Limits

NCJ Number
Journal of the Institute of Justice and International Studies Issue: 1 Dated: 2002 Pages: 69-81
Rudolf Schmuck
Date Published
13 pages
This paper provides background information and descriptions of the objectives and activities of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).
The aim of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 is to eliminate torture and ill-treatment in the states that are signatories. The realization of Article 3 is within the sovereign power and responsibility of the signatory states. The CPT was established as an independent organization within the structure of the Council of Europe. Its members are from the 43 countries that are signatories to the Convention, but the members act independently within the CPT's plenary meetings; during visits; and when deciding on future visits, reports, and reactions of the CPT. The CPT focuses on the plights of persons who are, for whatever reason, deprived of their liberty by acts or under responsibility of public authorities. The CPT, by means of visits, examines the treatment of such persons, with a view toward strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such persons from torture and from inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. The CPT's fulfillment of its mandate, however, is restricted by the fact that it has such few members who are responsible for practices in thousands of custodial facilities. The CPT also has the responsibility for examining various practices in these facilities, including the rights of persons deprived of liberty, custody and interrogation procedures, disciplinary procedures, the handling of complaints, physical conditions, activities, and health care. This paper details the CPT's working principles and methods, its cooperation with governments and the principle of confidentiality, and the CPT's standards. 9 footnotes