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What is the CPT?

  • The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) is a specialised independent monitoring body of the Council of Europe.
  • It consists of independent, impartial experts such as lawyers, medical doctors and specialists in prison or police matters.

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Is the CPT part of the European Union?

  • The CPT is not part of the European Union, but belongs to the 47-member state Council of Europe.

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What does the CPT do?

  • The CPT visits places of detention in the member states of the Council of Europe to see how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. Examples of places of detention are: police station, prisons, juvenile detention centres, immigration detention centres, psychiatric hospitals or social care homes.
  • It carries out approximately 18 visits per year. The duration of visits varies from a few days to two weeks, depending on the type of visit.
  • Visits may be part of the planned periodic cycle (one visit roughly every four years to each country), or unannounced (“ad hoc”) if the CPT considers it necessary to monitor a particularly serious situation.
  • CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and can move around such places without restriction.
  • CPT delegations interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information.

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What does the CPT not do?

  • The CPT does not process individual complaints.
  • The CPT does not intervene in legal proceedings.
  • The CPT does not deal with allegations of ill-treatment carried out by private people, nor where the victim is not deprived of their liberty by a public authority.
  • The CPT does not publish its visit report until the Government of the country concerned requests publication.

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What happens after a CPT visit?

  • After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the state concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, as well as its recommendations, comments and requests for information.
  • The CPT requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report.

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Can the CPT help individuals?

  • Unlike the European Court of Human Rights, the CPT is not empowered to process individual complaints.
  • However, information from individuals about allegations of ill-treatment may be of value to the Committee in the context of a visit to the country concerned. Cases should be reported in writing, giving as many details as possible, and will be treated on a confidential basis.
  • When notifying the CPT of an allegation of ill-treatment, it should be borne in mind that the alleged act:
    • must have occurred in a place of detention, or while being temporarily deprived of one’s liberty;
    • must have occurred on the territory of one of the member states of the Council of Europe, regardless of the nationality of victim.

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Does the CPT deal with all forms of ill-treatment?

  • No. The alleged ill-treatment must have been inflicted on a person deprived of their liberty by a public authority, in places such as police stations, prisons, juvenile detention centres, immigration detention centres, psychiatric hospitals or social care homes.
  • The CPT does not deal with cases of domestic violence. The Council of Europe monitoring body on action against violence against women is GREVIO.

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Does the CPT deal with allegations of ill-treatment committed outside Europe?

  • The CPT’s mandate only covers the territories of those countries which have ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treating or Punishment.

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What if the victim of an allegation of ill-treatment is not a citizen of a member state of the Council of Europe?

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How can I find out when the CPT will visit my country?

  • Periodic visits are announced to the public a year in advance, without giving specific dates.
  • Ad hoc visits are not announced to the public.
  • The authorities of the state concerned are notified of the exact date a few days/weeks before the visit is due to commence.
  • The public is informed of the exact dates of the visit by a news flash published on the CPT’s website once the visit has been carried out.

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Where can I find CPT visit reports?

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When is the CPT report sent to the authorities?

  • Reports of periodic visits: usually between three and six months after the visit.
  • Reports of ad hoc visits: usually between two and four months after the visit.

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When does the CPT receive the government response?

  • Responses to periodic visit reports: usually within six months after the authorities receive the report.
  • Responses to ad hoc visit reports: usually within three months after the authorities receive the report.

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How long does it usually take before a CPT report is published?

  • There is no fixed time limit for requesting publication of a report. It is entirely up to the state concerned.
  • Some states have authorised the automatic publication of all reports.
  • Some states have requested publication upon receipt of the report.
  • Others have requested publication of the CPT report together with their response.
  • Some have never requested publication of certain CPT reports.
  • There is no obligation for the state to publish the report.

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What is an "automatic publication procedure"?

  • An "automatic publication procedure" is set in place when a State makes a general request to publish all future visit reports concerning that State.

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Why do certain reports/responses not exist in English?

  • CPT reports are drafted for the attention of governments. They are therefore written in the official language of the Council of Europe they prefer (either English or French).
  • Where the CPT receives a local language version of the response, it is also published in that language.

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Preventing torture in Europe
www.cpt.coe.int

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