The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a Resolution on allegations of systemic torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in places of detention in Europe, based on a report by Constantinos Efstathiou (Cyprus, SOC).
The resolution notes that despite their absolute prohibition, torture and other forms of ill-treatment continue to be present in some Council of Europe countries. “Credible reports” also suggest that they “tend to be systemic and/or widespread in States such as the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Türkiye” (para. 6).
The resolution makes a series of recommendations to Member States in the area of criminal law (e.g. ensure that torture and other forms of ill-treatment are included as self-standing offences), prisoners’ procedural rights (e.g. guarantee the right of access to an independent lawyer and the right to be examined by an independent doctor, establish effective remedies that victims of torture and ill-treatment receive prompt and adequate reparation and are protected from retaliations) and international cooperation (e.g. ratify the OPCAT, fully cooperate with the SRT and the CPT).
The resolution also invites the CPT and the ECtHR to “indicate more explicitly in their reports and judgments whenever practices of torture and ill-treatment are found to be of a systemic or structural nature in the country concerned” (para. 11).
Lastly, the resolution calls for “a more timely and co-ordinated action between all [CoE] bodies […], to address emerging problems of systemic torture in particular countries” (para. 11), and invited the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to hold exchanges of views with national delegations of countries which have been found to have systemic or structural problems related to torture or ill-treatment.