United Nations

Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment

Distr.: General
13 December 2012
Original: English

Committee against Torture

General comment No. 3 (2012)
Implementation of article 14 by States parties
This general comment explains and clarifies to States parties the content and scope
of the obligations under article 14 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Each State party is required to “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.” The Committee considers that article 14 is applicable to all victims of torture and
acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereafter “ill-treatment”)
without discrimination of any kind, in line with the Committee’s general comment No. 2.
The Committee considers that the term “redress” in article 14 encompasses the
concepts of “effective remedy” and “reparation”. The comprehensive reparative concept
therefore entails restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of
non-repetition and refers to the full scope of measures required to redress violations under
the Convention.
Victims are persons who have individually or collectively suffered harm, including
physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of
their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that constitute violations of the
Convention. A person should be considered a victim regardless of whether the perpetrator
of the violation is identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted, and regardless of any
familial or other relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. The term “victim” also
includes affected immediate family or dependants of the victim as well as persons who
have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims or to prevent victimization. The term
“survivors” may, in some cases, be preferred by persons who have suffered harm. The
Committee uses the legal term “victims” without prejudice to other terms which may be
preferable in specific contexts.
The Committee emphasizes the importance of victim participation in the redress
process, and that the restoration of the dignity of the victim is the ultimate objective in the
provision of redress.
The obligations of States parties to provide redress under article 14 are two-fold:
procedural and substantive. To satisfy their procedural obligations, States parties shall enact
legislation and establish complaints mechanisms, investigation bodies and institutions,
including independent judicial bodies, capable of determining the right to and awarding
redress for a victim of torture and ill-treatment, and ensure that such mechanisms and


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