EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PREVENTION
OF TORTURE AND INHUMAN OR DEGRADING
TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT (AS AMENDED BY
PROTOCOLS I AND II OF 4 NOVEMBER 1993)
Opened for signature, Strasbourg, 26 November 1987
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Most legal instruments prohibiting torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment do not possess any mechanism of implementation ensuring the respect of the obligations they created. The adoption of the European Convention had its origin in the proposal of Jean-Jacques Gautier, Genevese banker, who proposed in 1976 a convention instituting a system of visits of places of detention by a group of independent experts. The proposal was taken up by Costa Rica which, in 1980, proposed to the UN Human Rights Commission to supplement the projected United Nations Convention (No. 65) with an optional protocol instituting such a system of visits. The draft of the optional protocol had been elaborated by the Swiss Committee against Torture and the International Commission of Jurists.
On the European level, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in 1983, on the basis of a report of the French deputy Noel Berrier, adopted resolution 971 which included, in its annex, the draft of the present Convention based on the Costa Rica proposal to the United Nations. In 1986, after intergovernmental discussions, the Committee of Ministers charged a committee of experts to elaborate the text of a convention. It adopted the text on 26 June 1987 after having consulted the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights. The Convention was opened for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe on 26 November 1987.
On 4 November 1993, the states members of Council of Europe signed two Protocols to the Convention. Protocol I has the purpose of allowing nonmember states of the Council of Europe to accede to the Convention by invitation of the Committee of Ministers. Protocol II provides that the members of the European Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment may be re-elected twice and that half of the membership shall be renewed every two years. The texts of the Protocols are integrated into the text of the Convention.
ENTRY INTO FORCE: 1 February 1989. The amendments of 4 November 1993 entered into force on 1 March 2002.
AUTHENTIC TEXT: English, French. The text below is reproduced from the document of the Council of Europe H (87) 4, pp. 2-9.
TEXT PUBLISHED IN: ETS 126 (Convention), 151 (Protocol I), 152 (Protocol II; GBTS, 1988, Misc. 5 (1988), Cm. 339 (Engl.); ILM, Vol. 27, 1988, pp. 1152-1159 (Engl.); Derechos humanos, pp. 651-660 (Span.); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 1005-1021 (French). Council of Europe website: http://conventions.coe.int.