Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Monaco

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its second periodic visit to the Principality of Monaco, carried out in December 2012, together with the response of the Monegasque authorities.
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No allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment were heard from persons detained by the police. In its report, the CPT highlights the efforts by the Monegasque authorities to implement essential CPT recommendations in respect of safeguards against police ill-treatment. It notes the inclusion in the Code of Criminal Procedure of the electronic recording (audio and video) of police interviews, as well as of access to a doctor of persons in police custody in the relevant legislation. The Committee also envisages in its report the possibility of systematic medical examination of persons before their placement in police custody cells (or sobering-up cells), with a view to preventing any kind of incident. Nevertheless, efforts still remain to be done, for instance, in respect of juveniles in police custody. More generally, the CPT considers that certain aspects of the police custody procedure should be reinforced by basing it on a legal text providing sufficient detail and safeguards (it is currently governed by the General Prosecutor’s instructions). In their response, the Monegasque authorities enumerate the main adopted texts in this respect, as well as the distribution of a memo setting up a medical examination prior to placing a person in detention in the Central Directorate of Public Security of Monaco.

The CPT did not hear of any allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment from persons detained at the Monaco Remand Prison either. On the contrary, it observed a relaxed atmosphere based on mutual respect between staff and prisoners. Regarding material conditions, the Committee noted some improvements since its last visit in 2006. However, these cannot in any way compensate for the structural shortcomings and the fundamental incompatibility of the original purpose of the building with its current use. These shortcomings continue to seriously affect the material conditions of detention, and indeed to contribute to a stressful environment. As regards certain aspects, the situation has even worsened because of very serious water infiltration in the upper cell sections and administrative premises. While being aware of the specific constraints faced by the Principality in terms of real estate, the CPT considers that the option pursued over the past few years – namely that of keeping the remand prison at Fort Saint Antoine and injecting massive sums of money into it – will never solve the problems affecting the current buildings.

The treatment of involuntary patients in the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of Princess Grace Hospital (CHPG) still remains satisfactory and the CPT noticed the excellent relations between the patients and the staff. Obviously, efficient measures had been taken following the first visit in 2006, especially as regards the resort to means of restraint. Such measures are now governed by appropriate policy and monitoring. Further, a pragmatic solution was found in respect of consent to treatment. A distinction has now been made between involuntary placement of a patient and treatment without consent by including specific wording in the information sheet given to the patient upon admission.

The CPT’s visit report and the response have been made public at the request of the Monegasque authorities and are available on the CPT’s website: