T O O L

UNCAT Implementation Tool 7/2019

PROCEDURES AND MECHANISMS TO HANDLE
COMPLAINTS OF AND INVESTIGATIONS INTO
TORTURE OR OTHER ILL-TREATMENT
Putting in place procedures to investigate allegations and to enable persons to lodge complaints of torture
or other ill-treatment (Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)) helps States to prevent abuses and to combat
impunity. Fair and effective procedures clarify the circumstances of any allegation, hold those responsible
accountable, and provide reparations for harm suffered.
Complaints and investigation procedures are
complementary and mutually reinforcing: they reaffirm
the rule of law, strengthen the professionalism of public
services and build trust in State institutions. They can
also help to improve working conditions for government
officials and protect them against wrongful or vexatious
allegations. The information gathered can be an
important learning opportunity and can assist officials,
and others, to identify areas in need of reform which can
inform future strategies to prevent torture and other illtreatment.

“	

[Complaints] mechanisms can not only
allay tensions between persons deprived
of their liberty and staff but also, by
ensuring that complaints are taken
seriously, contribute to building positive
relationships.”
European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment, Annual Report 2017

This tool sets out the key guiding principles for complaints procedures and investigations of torture and other
ill-treatment and includes examples drawn from various countries and contexts of laws, institutions, practices and
procedures to inspire good practice.

The CTI ‘UNCAT Implementation Tools’ are a series of practical tools designed to share good practices among States on the
implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(UNCAT). They offer thematic guidance and ideas for State practitioners and policy-makers as they develop or revise contextspecific strategies, mechanisms and procedures to prevent and punish torture and other forms of ill-treatment or punishment,
and provide remedies for victims.

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