Back Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visits Switzerland

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Switzerland from 19 to 28 March 2024.
Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visits Switzerland

The purpose of this visit was to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by the police and in remand detention in four cantons of the Swiss Confederation. In this context, particular attention was paid to the measures taken by the Swiss authorities in response to the recommendations made by the Committee following its 2021 visit that aimed at putting an end to the illegal detention of persons in two police stations, at strengthening safeguards against ill-treatment by the police and at taking measures to combat overcrowding in remand detention facilities in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

In Geneva and Lausanne, the delegation met with Carole-Anne Kast, State Councillor of the Department of Institutions and Digital Affairs, Republic and Canton of Geneva, and Vassilis Venizelos, State Councillor of the Department of Youth, Environment and Security for the Canton of Vaud. It also held talks with the heads of the Geneva police and cantonal detention office, and the Vaud security police and prison service, as well as with the public prosecutors of both cantons.

At the end of its visit, the CPT's delegation presented its preliminary observations to the competent federal and cantonal authorities in Bern. In this context, discussions were held with the Director of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), Michael Schöll, as well as with senior officials from the FOJ and the cantonal authorities.

As part of the visit, consultations were also held with the President of the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (CNPT), Martina Caroni, the Presidents of the Visitors' Committees of the Geneva and Vaud Grand Councils, MPs Marion Wahlen and Sophie Bobillier, and representatives of the Geneva and Vaud Bar Associations.

The visit was led by the following members of the CPT:

  • Nico Hirsch (head of delegation)
  • Vanessa Durich Moulet
  • Elisabetta Zamparutti

They were supported by Sebastian Rietz of the CPT's secretariat and assisted by the expert Anne Galinier, former Chief Medical Officer of the Prison Health Service, Hôpitaux de Marseille.


The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Canton of Fribourg

  • Cantonal Police Station Les Pilettes, Fribourg
  • Cantonal Police Intervention Centre, Granges-Paccot
  • Central Prison, Fribourg (targeted visit)

Republic and Canton of Geneva

  • Police Headquarters (VHP), Geneva
  • Police Station, Gare-Cornavin, Geneva
  • Pâquis Police Station, Geneva
  • Servette Police Station, Geneva
  • Champ-Dollon Prison, Puplinge (targeted visit)

Canton of Valais

  • Brig Prison, Glis
  • Sion Prison(targeted visit)

Canton of Vaud

  • Detention area of the Cantonal Police Station, Centre de la Blécherette, Lausanne
  • Detention area of the Municipal Police Headquarters, Lausanne
  • Bois-Mermet Prison, Lausanne (targeted visit)
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