United Nations CAT/OP/PRY/1/Add.1 Distr.: General Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 10 June 2010 English Original: Spanish Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture Replies of the Republic of Paraguay to the recommendations and requests for information made by the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in its report on its first periodic visit to Paraguay (CAT/OP/PRY/R.1) * , ** , *** 1.The Government of Paraguay takes careful note of all the recommendations and observations made by the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was established pursuant to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, following the visit carried out by the Subcommittee from 10 to 16 March 2009. The Government of Paraguay takes this opportunity to make the following comments. I. Recommendations Paragraphs 238 and 239 2.The Government of Paraguay is pleased to report that a draft amendment to the Military Criminal Code (Act No. 843/1980) is currently under consideration. This amendment is aimed at incorporating the legal definitions set out in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment — in view of the fact that the current Code dates from 1980 — in order to bring this legislation into conformity with international treaties on the subject. Paragraphs 240 and 241 3.The Office of the Ombudsman has described the progress made in implementing these recommendations, as follows. 4.The Office of the Ombudsman — through its Department for Persons Deprived of their Liberty, which, since the month of May, has been assigned to the First Rotation Office — has restructured that office and has appointed a permanent director and a secretary with a view to ensuring full respect for human rights. The type of service provided by the First Rotation Office for Persons Deprived of their Liberty consists of routine monitoring of the criminal justice (judicial and prison) system and of complaints and reports filed by persons deprived of their liberty. In order to obtain an overview of the situation with respect to torture in Paraguay’s prisons, the Office of the Ombudsman, together with representatives of various State bodies and civil society organizations, established the InterAgency Commission to Conduct Visits and Monitoring in respect of Adolescents Deprived of their Liberty. This commission visited all juvenile detention centres in Paraguay in order to inspect the living conditions of their inmates and to detect any situations of torture or ill-treatment that might exist. All of these data were collected using a protocol according to which adolescents deprived of their liberty were interviewed personally and — with regard to inmates’ complaints, particularly those relating to torture — in strict confidentiality. 5.An in-depth investigation into torture has not yet been carried out in adult detention centres; however, in 2009, a number of complaints of torture were lodged by inmates themselves. These allegations were taken up by the Office of the Ombudsman, which referred them to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and subsequently performed due process checks in each case. Acts of torture in police stations have also been reported, and the Office of the Ombudsman followed the same procedure in dealing with these cases, which consisted of organizing an on-site meeting of representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman, conducting an interview with the detained person who showed signs of torture and subsequently transmitting the complaint to the competent body so that it could conduct an investigation into the matter. 6.The system is monitored by sending out requests for reports on the judicial status of inmates at the various prisons. These reports are submitted in a table format and indicate inmates’ judicial status, whether they have defence counsel, whether they have been given a firm date to apply for a conditional release and the name of the court handling the case. On the basis of these data, the Office of the Ombudsman performs a due process check on prisoners’ cases, especially those in which there is some irregularity, such as a failure to appoint a defence counsel or to provide official notification of the prisoner’s sentence. 7.The Office of the Ombudsman also gathers information on the basic requirements of the various prisons. To that end, the directrice of the First Rotation Office held meetings with the directors of the Tacumbú and the Buen Pastor prisons, who described the various shortages in these prisons that made it difficult for them to meet inmates’ needs. 8.The Office of the Ombudsman has requested the Ministry of Justice and Labour to provide adequate supplies in order to ensure that inmates’ needs are met and their human rights fully respected.