CAT/OP/CRI/ROSP/1 I. Introduction 1. In accordance with its mandate under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture carried out its first visit to Costa Rica from 3 to 14 March 2019. 2. The Subcommittee members conducting the visit were: Roberto Fehér Pérez (head of delegation), María Dolores Gómez, María Luisa Romero, Nora Sveaass and Juan Pablo Vegas. The Subcommittee was assisted by three human rights officers from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and two United Nations security officers. 3. The Subcommittee met with the individuals listed in annex I and visited the places of deprivation of liberty listed in annex II. It also held meetings with members of the national preventive mechanism and visited a centre of deprivation of liberty with them in order to observe their working methods. 4. At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its confidential preliminary observations orally to the national authorities. In the present report, the Subcommittee sets out, on the basis of its findings, its conclusions and recommendations relevant to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment1 of persons deprived of their liberty in Costa Rica. 5. The Subcommittee recommends that the present report be distributed to all relevant authorities, departments and institutions. 6. The present report will remain confidential until such time as Costa Rica decides to make it public. The Subcommittee informs the State party that, in order to request funding from the Special Fund, established under article 26 of the Optional Protocol to help finance the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Subcommittee’s reports, those reports must be made public. 7. The Subcommittee recommends that Costa Rica request the publication of the present report in accordance with article 16 (2) of the Optional Protocol. 8. The Subcommittee wishes to express its gratitude to the authorities and to the liaison officer for their assistance in the planning of the visit. It regrets, however, that three units of the Judicial Investigation Agency located in San José and elsewhere in the country did not allow the Subcommittee to interview prisoners in their cells, allegedly for reasons of security. Although the Subcommittee informed the authorities of that lack of cooperation during its visit, the problem was not resolved. II. National preventive mechanism 9. Costa Rica designated the Ombudsman’s Office as its national preventive mechanism by executive decree in 2006. The mechanism began operating as an independent unit within the Ombudsman’s Office in January 2009 and, in 2015, was designated as a “highly decentralized body” attached to the Ombudsman’s Office. During its visit, the Subcommittee observed good working relations between the Ombudsman’s Office and the mechanism. Generally speaking, the mechanism is an independent body; there were no reports of interference by the Ombudsman’s Office in the fulfilment of its mandate, the allocation of its budget or the recruitment and hiring of its staff. 10. The Subcommittee noted with satisfaction that the mechanism carries out its work in an extremely professional manner and makes a valuable contribution to the prevention of torture. The mechanism’s reports contain extensive information relating to its observations and its recommendations are used to inform decisions by the judicial and executive branches of power. 1 GE.21-00153 The present report uses the generic term “ill-treatment” to refer to any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with article 16 of the Convention against Torture. 3

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