European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
last updated July 29, 2013

 

 

Type of Mechanism
 
Reporting and Monitoring through the submission of an "application."
 
Scope of the Procedure
The Committee operates in only those countries that have ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ECPT).  The Committee visits places of detention, understood broadly to include prisons, police cells, military barracks, immigration detention centers, mental hospitals etc.[1]
 
 
Who can Submit a Complaint?
 
Any citizen or groups of citizens from a country that is a member of the Council of Europe and has ratified the ECPT. 
Role of Advocates
NGOs can also provide the Committee with information related to a country visit, in the form of communications or "application."
Available Remedies
No remedies for individual rights violations.  The Committee drafts a non-binding report with findings, recommendations and advice on the country in question.
 
 
How to Submit a Report
There is no format for submitting information to the Committee, but the report should allege violations of the ECPT by the country to which a Committee visit is scheduled, or request an ad hoc visit. 
 
Where to Send Communications
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
The Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
France
 
Tel.: France: 03 88 41 39 39, Int.: +33 3 88 41 39 39
Fax: France: 03 88 41 27 72, Int.: +33 3 88 41 27 72
E-mail: cptdoc@coe.int
Internet: www.cpt.coe.int
 
How the Reporting Procedure Works
The Committee, composed of independent experts, is empowered by the ECPT to carry out visits of places of detention of any kind and then examine the treatment of detainees.  
 
The Committee can make recommendations to the State party.  The Committee's mandate is to work cooperatively with member States, and so it is not a judicial body and does not issue judgments in individual cases. 
 
The Committee caries out periodic visits to all State parties and can also undertake ad hoc visits.
 
Committee reports remain confidential, unless a State fails to follow the recommendations.  At this point, the Committee may make their report public.  The Committee does, however, make public the countries that it will visit in a given year.
 
A list of visits made by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture can be found here.[2]
 
Advantages/Disadvantages
Committee reports are confidential and are generally given weight by State parties.
 
The Committee cannot issues legally binding judgments and is limited in the scope of its visits and the number of country visits it can undertake each year. However, ad hoc visits can be made whenever necessary.[3]
 

 

 
Additional Resources
 
The website of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment includes general information about the Committee, information about country visits, documents and reports and a searchable database of Committee materials.
Frontline, an Irish NGO, has created a Human Rights Defenders Manual, which includes some information on communication to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
 
[1] “The CPT in brief,” Council of Europe, accessed June 17, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/about.htm.
[2] “CPT Visits,” Council of Europe, accessed June 17, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/visits.htm.
[3] “The CPT in brief,” Council of Europe, accessed June 17, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/about.htm.