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CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN
OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984
entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27 (1)

The States Parties to this Convention,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Recognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter, in particular Article 55, to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Having regard to article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

Having regard also to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975,

Desiring to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world,

Have agreed as follows:

Part I

Article 1

1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or

suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from

him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed

or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason

based on discrimination of

any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence

of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising

only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or

may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to

prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal

political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3

1. No State Party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are

substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall

take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State

concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same

shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or

participation in torture.

2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into

account their grave nature.

Article 5

1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over

the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:

(a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft

registered in that State;

(b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State;

(c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.

2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its

jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its

jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in paragraph 1 of

this article.

3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal

law.

Article 6

1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so

warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in

article 4 is present shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence. The

custody and other legal measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may be continued only for

such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted.

2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.

3. Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article shall be assisted in communicating

immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national, or, if he is a

stateless person, with the representative of the State where he usually resides.

4. When a State, pursuant to this article, has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the

States referred to in article 5, paragraph 1, of the fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances

which warrant his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of

this article shall promptly report its findings to the said States and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise

jurisdiction.

Article 7

1. The State Party in the territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any

offence referred to in article 4 is found shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him,

submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

2. These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary

offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the

standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those

which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.

3. Any person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with any of the offences

referred to in article 4 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings.

Article 8

1. The offences referred to in article 4 shall be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any

extradition treaty existing between States Parties. States Parties undertake to include such offences as

extraditable offences in every extradition treaty to be concluded between them.

2. If a State Party which makes extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request

for extradition from another State Party with which it has no extradition treaty, it may consider this Convention

as the legal basis for extradition in respect of such offences. Extradition shall be subject to the other

conditions provided by the law of the United States.

3. States Parties which do not make extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty shall recognize

such offences as extraditable offences between themselves subject to the conditions provided by the law of

the requested State.

4. Such offences shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between States Parties, as if they had

been committed not only in the place in which they occurred but also in the territories. of the States required

to establish their jurisdiction in accordance with article 5, paragraph 1.

Article 9

1. States Parties shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with

criminal proceedings brought in respect of any of the offences referred to in article 4, including the supply of

all evidence at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.

2. States Parties shall carry out their obligations under paragraph 1 of this article in conformity with

any treaties on mutual judicial assistance that may exist between them.

Article 10

1. Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against

torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel,

public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any

individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.

2. Each State Party shall include this prohibition in the rules or instructions issued in regard to the

duties and functions of any such persons.

Article 11

Each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and

practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest,

detention or imprisonment in any territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of torture.

Article 12

Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial

investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any

territory under its jurisdiction.

Article 13

Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any

territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially

examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses

are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence

given.

Article 14

1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress

and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation

as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be

entitled to compensation.

2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other persons to compensation which may

exist under national law.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result

of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as

evidence that the statement was made.

Article 16

1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel,

inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when

such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or

other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13

shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or

degrading treatment or punishment.

2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international

instrument or national law which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or which

relates to extradition or expulsion.

Part II

Article 17

1.There shall be established a Committee against Torture (hereinafter referred to as the Committee)

which shall carry out the functions hereinafter provided. The Committee shall consist of ten experts of high

moral standing and recognized competence in the field of human rights, who shall serve in their personal

capacity. The experts shall be elected by the States Parties, consideration being given to equitable

geographical distribution and to the usefulness of the participation of some persons having legal experience.

2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated

by States Parties. Each State Party may nominate one person from among its own nationals. States Parties

shall bear in mind the usefulness of nominating persons who are also members of the Human Rights

Committee established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and who are willing to

serve on the Committee against Torture.

3. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at biennial meetings of States Parties

convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. At those meetings, for which two thirds of the

States Parties shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be those who obtain the

largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present

and voting.

4. The initial election shall be held no later than six months after the date of the entry into force of this

Convention. At least four months before the date of each election, the Secretary-General of the United

Nations shall address a letter to the States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within three

months. The Secretary-General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated,

indicating the States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties.

5. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. They shall be eligible for

re-election if renominated. However, the term of five of the members elected at the first election shall expire

at the end of two years; immediately after the first election the names of these five members shall be chosen

by lot by the chairman of the meeting referred to in paragraph 3 of this article.

6. If a member of the Committee dies or resigns or for any other cause can no longer perform his

Committee duties, the State Party which nominated him shall appoint another expert from among its

nationals to serve for the remainder of his term, subject to the approval of the majority of the States Parties.

The approval shall be considered

given unless half or more of the States Parties respond negatively within six weeks after having been

informed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the proposed appointment.

7. States Parties shall be responsible for the expenses of the members of the Committee while they

are in performance of Committee duties.

Article 18

1. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years. They may be re-elected.

2. The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure, but these rules shall provide, inter alia,

that:

(a) Six members shall constitute a quorum;

(b) Decisions of the Committee shall be made by a majority vote of the members present.

3. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary staff and facilities for the

effective performance of the functions of the Committee under this Convention.

4. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall convene the initial meeting of the Committee.

After its initial meeting, the Committee shall meet at such times as shall be provided in its rules of procedure.

5. The States Parties shall be responsible for expenses incurred in connection with the holding of

meetings of the States Parties and of the Committee, including reimbursement to the United Nations for any

expenses, such as the cost of staff and facilities, incurred by the United Nations pursuant to paragraph 3 of

this article.

Article 19

1. The States Parties shall submit to the Committee, through the Secretary-General of the United

Nations, reports on the measures they have taken to give effect to their undertakings under this Convention,

within one year after the entry into force of the Convention for the State Party concerned. Thereafter the

States Parties shall submit supplementary reports every four years on any new measures taken and such

other reports as the Committee may request.

2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit the reports to all States Parties.

3. Each report shall be considered by the Committee which may make such general comments on the

report as it may consider appropriate and shall forward these to the State Party concerned. That State Party

may respond with any observations it chooses to the Committee.

4. The Committee may, at its discretion, decide to include any comments made by it in accordance

with paragraph 3 of this article, together with the observations thereon received from the State Party

concerned, in its annual report made in accordance with article 24. If so requested by the State Party

concerned, the Committee may also include a copy of the report submitted under paragraph 1 of this article.

Article 20

1. If the Committee receives reliable information which appears to it to contain well-founded

indications that torture is being systematically practised in the territory of a State Party, the Committee shall

invite that State Party to co-operate in the examination of the information and to this end to submit

observations with regard to the information concerned.

2. Taking into account any observations which may have been submitted by the State Party

concerned, as well as any other relevant information available to it, the Committee may, if it decides that this

is warranted, designate one or more of its members to make a confidential inquiry and to report to the

Committee urgently.

3. If an inquiry is made in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article, the Committee shall seek the

co-operation of the State Party concerned. In agreement with that State Party, such an inquiry may include a

visit to its territory.

4. After examining the findings of its member or members submitted in accordance with paragraph 2

of this article, the Committee shall transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any

comments or suggestions which seem appropriate in view of the situation.

5. All the proceedings of the Committee referred to in paragraphs1 to 4 of this article shall be

confidential, and at all stages of the proceedings the co-operation of the State Party shall be sought. After

such proceedings have been completed with regard to an inquiry made in accordance with paragraph 2, the

Committee may, after consultations with the State Party concerned, decide to include a summary account of

the results of the proceedings in its annual report made in accordance with article 24.

Article 21

1. A State Party to this Convention may at any time declare under this article that it recognizes the

competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications to the effect that a State Party claims

that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under this Convention. Such communications may be

received and considered according to the procedures laid down in this article only if submitted by a State

Party which has made a declaration recognizing in regard to itself the competence of the Committee. No

communication shall be dealt with by the Committee under this article if it concerns a State Party which has

not made such a declaration. Communications received under this article shall be dealt with in accordance

with the following procedure:

(a) If a State Party considers that another State Party is not giving effect to the provisions of this

Convention, it may, by written communication, bring the matter to the attention of that State Party. Within three

months after the receipt of the communication the receiving State shall afford the State which sent the

communication an explanation or any other statement in writing clarifying the matter, which should include, to

the extent possible and pertinent, reference to domestic procedures and remedies taken, pending or

available in the matter;

(b) If the matter is not adjusted to the satisfaction of both States Parties concerned within six months

after the receipt by the receiving State of the initial communication, either State shall have the right to refer

the matter to the Committee, by notice given to the Committee and to the other State;

(c) The Committee shall deal with a matter referred to it under this article only after it has ascertained

that all domestic remedies have been invoked and exhausted in the matter, in conformity with the generally

recognized principles of international law. This shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is

unreasonably prolonged or is unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who is the victim of the violation of

this Convention;

(d) The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications under this article;

(e) Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (c), the Committee shall make available its good offices

to the States Parties concerned with a view to a friendly solution of the matter on the basis of respect for the

obligations provided for in this Convention. For this purpose, the Committee may, when appropriate, set up

an ad hoc conciliation commission;

(f) In any matter referred to it under this article, the Committee may call upon the States Parties

concerned, referred to in subparagraph (b), to supply any relevant information;

(g) The States Parties concerned, referred to in subparagraph (b), shall have the right to be

represented when the matter is being considered by the Committee and to make submissions orally and/or

in writing;

(h) The Committee shall, within twelve months after the date of receipt of notice under subparagraph

(b), submit a report:

(i) If a solution within the terms of subparagraph (e) is reached, the Committee shall confine its report

to a brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached;

(ii) If a solution within the terms of subparagraph (e) is not reached, the Committee shall confine its

report to a brief statement of the facts; the written submissions and record of the oral submissions made by

the States Parties concerned shall be attached to the report.

In every matter, the report shall be communicated to the States Parties concerned.

2. The provisions of this article shall come into force when five States Parties to this Convention have

made declarations under paragraph 1 of this article. Such declarations shall be deposited by the States

Parties with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States

Parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General. Such a

withdrawal shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter which is the subject of a communication already

transmitted under this article; no further communication by any State Party shall be received under this article

after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the Secretary-General, unless the

State Party concerned has made a new declaration.

Article 22

1. A State Party to this Convention may at any time declare under this article that it recognizes the

competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals

subject to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by a State Party of the provisions of the

Convention. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State Party which has not

made such a declaration.

2. The Committee shall consider inadmissible any communication under this article which is

anonymous or which it considers to be an abuse of the right of submission of such communications or to be

incompatible with the provisions of this Convention.

3. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2, the Committee shall bring any communications submitted

to it under this article to the attention of the State Party to this Convention which has made a declaration

under paragraph 1 and is alleged to be violating any provisions of the Convention. Within six months, the

receiving State shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the

remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.

4. The Committee shall consider communications received under this article in the light of all

information made available to it by or on behalf of the individual and by the State Party concerned.

5. The Committee shall not consider any communications from an individual under this article unless it

has ascertained that:

(a) The same matter has not been, and is not being, examined under another procedure of

international investigation or settlement;

(b) The individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies; this shall not be the rule where the

application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or is unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who

is the victim of the violation of this Convention.

6. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications under this article.

7. The Committee shall forward its views to the State Party concerned and to the individual.

8. The provisions of this article shall come into force when five States Parties to this Convention have

made declarations under paragraph 1 of this article. Such declarations shall be deposited by the States

Parties with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other

States Parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General. Such a

withdrawal shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter which is the subject of a communication

already transmitted under this article; no further communication by or on behalf of an individual shall be

received under this article after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the

Secretary-General, unless the State Party has made a new declaration.

Article 23

The members of the Committee and of the ad hoc conciliation commissions which may be appointed

under article 21, paragraph 1 (e), shall be entitled to the facilities, privileges and immunities of experts on

mission for the United Nations as laid down in the relevant sections of the Convention on the Privileges and

Immunities of the United Nations.

Article 24

The Committee shall submit an annual report on its activities under this Convention to the States

Parties and to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Part III

Article 25

1. This Convention is open for signature by all States.

2. This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 26

This Convention is open to accession by all States. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an

instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 27

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. For each State ratifying this Convention or acceding to it after the deposit of the twentieth

instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date

of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 28

1. Each State may, at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention or accession thereto,

declare that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in article 20.

2. Any State Party having made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article may, at

any time, withdraw this reservation by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 29

1. Any State Party to this Convention may propose an amendment and file it with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate the proposed

amendment to the States Parties with a request that they notify him whether they favour a conference of

States Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposal. In the event that within four

months from the date of such communication at least one third of the States Parties favours such a

conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations.

Any amendment adopted by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at the conference shall be

submitted by the Secretary-General to all the States Parties for acceptance.

2. An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article shall enter into force when

two thirds of the States Parties to this Convention have notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations

that they have accepted it in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.

3. When amendments enter into force, they shall be binding on those States Parties which have

accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by the provisions of this Convention and any earlier

amendments which they have accepted.

Article 30

1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this

Convention which cannot be settled through negotiation shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted to

arbitration. If within six months from the date of the request for arbitration the Parties are unable to agree on

the organization of the arbitration, any one of those Parties may refer the dispute to the International Court of

Justice by request in conformity with the Statute of the Court.

2. Each State may, at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention or accession thereto,

declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of this article. The other States Parties shall not

be bound by paragraph 1 of this article with respect to any State Party having made such a reservation.

3. Any State Party having made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article may at

any time withdraw this reservation by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 31

1. A State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the

United Nations. Denunciation becomes effective one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the

Secretary-General.

2. Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party from its obligations under

this Convention in regard to any act or omission which occurs prior to the date at which the denunciation

becomes effective, nor shall denunciation prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter

which is already under consideration by the Committee prior to the date at which the denunciation becomes

effective.

3. Following the date at which the denunciation of a State Party becomes effective, the Committee

shall not commence consideration of any new matter regarding that State.

Article 32

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States Members of the United Nations

and all States which have signed this Convention or acceded to it of the following:

(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles 25 and 26;

(b) The date of entry into force of this Convention under article 27 and the date of the entry into force of

any amendments under article 29;

(c) Denunciations under article 31.

Article 33

1. This Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are

equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of this Convention to all

States.

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