UNITED
NATIONS

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

Distr.
GENERAL
CAT/C/GC/2
24 January 2008
Original: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE

CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR
DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT
GENERAL COMMENT No. 2
Implementation of article 2 by States parties
1.
This general comment addresses the three parts of article 2, each of which identifies distinct
interrelated and essential principles that undergird the Convention’s absolute prohibition against
torture. Since the adoption of the Convention against Torture, the absolute and non-derogable
character of this prohibition has become accepted as a matter of customary international law. The
provisions of article 2 reinforce this peremptory jus cogens norm against torture and constitute the
foundation of the Committee’s authority to implement effective means of prevention, including but
not limited to those measures contained in the subsequent articles 3 to 16, in response to evolving
threats, issues, and practices.
2.
Article 2, paragraph 1, obliges each State party to take actions that will reinforce the
prohibition against torture through legislative, administrative, judicial, or other actions that must, in
the end, be effective in preventing it. To ensure that measures are in fact taken that are known to
prevent or punish any acts of torture, the Convention outlines in subsequent articles obligations for
the State party to take measures specified therein.
3.
The obligation to prevent torture in article 2 is wide-ranging. The obligations to prevent
torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereinafter “ill-treatment”)
under article 16, paragraph 1, are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The obligation to
prevent ill-treatment in practice overlaps with and is largely congruent with the obligation to prevent
torture. Article 16, identifying the means of prevention of ill-treatment, emphasizes “in particular”
the measures outlined in articles 10 to 13, but does not limit effective prevention to these articles, as
the Committee has explained, for example, with respect to compensation in article 14. In practice,
the definitional threshold between ill-treatment and torture is often not clear. Experience
demonstrates that the conditions that give rise to ill-treatment frequently facilitate torture and
GE.08-40262

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