Reporting Killings as Human Rights Violations Handbook

Combating Torture

A Manual for Judges and Prosecutors

By Conor Foley

Manual links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Introduction - 1: The Prohibition of Torture in International Law - 2: Safeguards Against Torture - 3: The Role of Judges and Prosecutors - 4: Conducting Investigations and Inquiries - 5: Prosecuting Suspected Torturers and Providing Redress - Appendices
5 Prosecuting suspected torturers and providing redress to the victims of torture: section links...
Prosecuting suspected torturers and providing redress to the victims of torture - Torture as a criminal offence - Culpability for crimes of torture or other forms of ill-treatment - Identifying and prosecuting those responsible - The obligation to prosecute - Fair trials - Immunities, amnesties and statutes of limitation - Punishment - Redress

Prosecuting suspected torturers and providing redress to the victims of torture

5.1 This chapter relates to the prosecution of those involved in torture and other forms of ill-treatment. It outlines who may be held liable for such crimes and describes some of the legal and procedural steps involved in prosecuting those responsible. Laws and procedures will, obviously, vary in different jurisdictions. This chapter also discusses the issues of amnesties and universal jurisdiction and highlights the importance of providing redress to the victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

5.2 It primarily falls to states to enforce criminal laws. The role of judges and prosecutors in enforcing these laws will also vary in different criminal justice systems. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment are already prohibited by most domestic legal systems in the world. Even where there are no specific crimes of torture or ill-treatment in domestic law, there are usually other laws under which the perpetrators can be held to account, such as crimes against the person. Where such acts are committed by representatives of the state or law enforcement officials, however, this should be considered an aggravating circumstance as the official is betraying the professional duty that he or she is under to serve and protect the people of that state.

Torture as a criminal offence

5.3 The UN Convention against Torture provides that:

Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.1

5.4 There are no exceptional circumstances that may be invoked to justify the use of torture, nor may an order from a superior officer or a public authority be invoked as a justification.2 The Human Rights Committee has stated that: 'States Parties should indicate when presenting their reports the provisions of their criminal law which penalize torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, specifying the penalties applicable to such acts, whether committed by public officials or other persons acting on behalf of the State, or by private persons. Those who violate article 7, whether by encouraging, ordering, tolerating or perpetrating prohibited acts, must be held responsible. Consequently, those who have refused to obey orders must not be punished or subjected to any adverse treatment.'3

5.5 The Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture states that: 'The States Parties shall ensure that all acts of torture and attempts to commit torture are offences under their criminal law and shall make such acts punishable by severe penalties that take into account their serious nature.'4 It also states that 'A public servant or employee who acting in that capacity orders, instigates or induces the use of torture, or who directly commits it or who, being able to prevent it, fails to do so, will be held guilty of the crime of torture. A person who, at the instigation of a public servant or employee, orders, instigates, or induces the use of torture, directly commits it or is an accomplice to such acts will also be held guilty of the crime.'5


1 Article 4, UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984. [...back to main text]

2 Article 2, ibid. This principle was also enshrined in the Charter of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals 1946, and subsequently reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly. It can also be found in the Statutes of the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and, with minor modification, in the Statute of the International Criminal Court. [...back to main text]

3 Human Rights Committee General Comment 20, para 13. [...back to main text]

4 Article 6, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1985. [...back to main text]

5 Article 3, ibid. [...back to main text]


Culpability for crimes of torture or other forms of ill-treatment

5.6 When the state deprives a person of liberty, it assumes a duty of care to maintain the person's safety and safeguard the person's welfare. This places an obligation on all those responsible for the deprivation of liberty and the care of the detainee.6 Where an act of torture or other form of ill-treatment has taken place the prosecutor should consider bringing charges against all those who failed to fulfil this obligation.

5.7 Culpability will extend to anyone in a responsible position within the institution in which the detainee was being held who knew or ought to have known that torture or ill-treatment was being perpetrated and failed to act to prevent it or report it. This could include police station commanders and their deputies, custody officers, and doctors or medical personnel, as well as other officers and staff in the place of detention. It might also include prosecutors and judges or others responsible for inspecting places of detention if they knowingly ignored or disregarded evidence that torture or other forms of ill-treatment was being perpetrated in the places that they visited -- or on people who had been brought before them.

5.8 To prove responsibility a prosecutor will generally need to show that the defendant committed, or attempted to commit the crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person; ordered, solicited or induced the commission of the crime or attempted crime; aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in its commission or its attempted commission; or in any other way contributed to the commission of the crime or attempted crime. This could involve an individual participating directly in the torture or ill-treatment, assisting it in some way which had a substantial effect on the perpetration of the crime, or ordering it to be carried out. It could also involve failing to prevent it from being carried out by people over whom the person had command or management responsibility, where that person either knew, or owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known, that the torture or ill-treatment was taking place and failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent it or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

5.9 Failure to report criminal activity, even where the individual is not directly or indirectly responsible for the crimes being committed is also generally regarded as a criminal offence -- albeit of a less serious nature.


6 Human Rights Committee, General Comment 21, Article 10 (Forty-fourth session, 1992), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 33 (1994), para. 3. [...back to main text]


Identifying and prosecuting those responsible

5.10 Criminal charges will usually need to be brought against identified individuals. This may prove difficult in cases of torture, or other forms of ill-treatment, as those responsible may have concealed their identity from the victim and be able to rely on either a protective 'wall of silence' from their colleagues -- or even their active collusion in concocting a false story. Even if the victim has identified them, perpetrators may argue that it is 'one person's word against another' and that this is insufficient to prove guilt.

5.11 Where an individual officer has been identified by name, by physical description, or through a serial or personal identification number, it should be possible to trace the officer through the official records. If the victim has been held at an officially recognised place of detention then the custody records should identify those responsible for the detention and anyone else who came into contact with the victim during this period. Other records held at police stations and detention facilities may also contain relevant information. This could include: duty records and parade books (indicating which officers are on duty in a particular station); message pads and radio logs (recording all telephone and radio communications in a particular station); and crime reports and notebooks (recording specific action taken by individual officers in the course of their duties). If properly kept and preserved this information can help to piece together evidence that could lead to the successful identification of someone accused of torture. It may also help to corroborate or disprove a particular allegation.

5.12 Where there are no independent witnesses, prosecutors may believe that the chances of a conviction are not high enough to justify taking a case. Some believe that if the evidence is simply one person's word against another, then the required standard of proof for criminal conviction ('beyond reasonable doubt', 'intime conviction', etc.) can never be satisfied. The assumption that a law enforcement officer accused of committing a crime in the course of his or her duties may stand a better chance of subsequently being acquitted than the average criminal defendant may also make some prosecutors reluctant to pursue a case. However, these factors need to be balanced against the public interest served in ensuring that those in positions of authority do not abuse it and this may justify bringing a prosecution even in cases where there is a greater likelihood of acquittal than would usually be the case. Where there is strong evidence that someone has suffered prohibited forms of ill-treatment in custody, and strong evidence that an identified officer, or group of officers, was present at the time of this ill-treatment, they could either be charged jointly with carrying out or aiding and abetting the ill-treatment or individually with failing to protect someone in their care.

5.13 Where there is no dispute that an identified officer has used force that resulted in a detainee suffering injury, the issue is likely to hinge on whether -- if the alleged victim was not under the officer's control -- the force was necessary, reasonable or proportionate. Laws governing the use of force on detainees will vary in different countries. However, the prohibition of torture is absolute. Neither the dangerous character of a detainee, nor the lack of security in a detention facility can be used to justify torture.7 According to international standards, force may only be used on people in custody when it is strictly necessary for the maintenance of security and order within the institution, in cases of attempted escape, when there is resistance to a lawful order, or when personal safety is threatened. In any event, force may be used only if non-violent means have proved ineffective.8

5.14 Criminal charges should also be brought against those in positions of responsibility who either knew or consciously disregarded information which indicated that their subordinates were committing crimes of torture or ill-treatment and failed to take reasonable measures to prevent it or report this. Where patterns of torture or ill-treatment emerge or there has been systematic failure to prevent them or hold the perpetrators to account, this could be taken as evidence that those in authority are effectively condoning such practices.

5.15 The presumption that the injuries a detainee has suffered were the result of torture or other prohibited forms of ill-treatment may be rebutted if a plausible alternative explanation exists, but it is for the authorities and alleged perpetrators to demonstrate convincingly that allegations are unfounded. Given the difficulties of proving allegations of torture, in the circumstances of detention, appropriate weight should also be given to corroborative evidence. Judges should not make the standard of proof so high that it cannot be realistically discharged. This is especially important when dealing with claims for redress (see below). Factors that should be taken as corroborative evidence that an allegation of torture is well-founded may include:


7 Article 2, the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. See also The Reports of the Committee Against Torture, Mutambo v Switzerland (13/1993) GAOR, 49th Session, Supplement No.44 (1994); Khan v Canada (15/1994), GAOR, 50th Session, Supplement No.44 (1995); and Ireland v UK, ECtHR Series A 25, (1978); Chahal v UK, ECtHR Judgment 15 November 1996; Tomasi v France, ECtHR Series A, No. 241-A (1993); Selmouni v France, ECtHR Judgment 28 July 1999. [...back to main text]

8 Rule 54, Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; Principles 4, 5 and 9, Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. [...back to main text]


R v Fryer, Nichol, Lawrie EWCA Crim 825 Court of Appeal Criminal Division, Royal Courts of Justice, Tuesday 19th March 2002 (United Kingdom)

On 15 March 1998, a prisoner at Wormwood Scrubs prison, was subjected to serious and sustained assaults by three prison officers in the segregation unit at the prison.

The prisoner, the complainant in this case, had been taken for a strip search and was then taken down to the segregation unit. He was slapped across the face, then grabbed by the neck, arms and legs and taken from the cell to an open area, in the centre of the block where he was thrown to the floor. He suffered two separate assaults during which he was punched and kicked repeatedly while he lay on the floor until he was visibly bleeding. He was then carried back to the cell and kicked from behind into the cell wall. The officers subsequently fabricated bogus complaints against the prisoner, which resulted in him being placed in solitary confinement and losing remission from his sentence. A number of other prisoners complained of similar ill-treatment at around the same time and criminal charges were eventually brought against 27 prison officers in connection with 13 separate complainants of ill-treatment and assaults, some of which were said to amount to torture.

On 14 September 2001 three prison officers were convicted in relation to the above case and received sentences of three-and-a-half to four years imprisonment. In upholding the sentences the Court of Appeal stated that there were 'special and aggravating circumstances' in the case, including the seriousness of the assault and the fact that it was not an isolated assault but a sustained and repeated assault after an interval. The Court also stated that: 'Prisoners are entitled to the protection of the law, from assaults on them by prison officers. Society is entitled to the proper discharge of the onerous responsibilities which prison officers undertake. They are heavy responsibilities. But more than that too, these appellants did not take the opportunity they could have taken at an early stage and by this we mean the very earliest stage where they could have accepted responsibility for what they did. They attempted, by bogus charges and disciplinary proceedings, to salvage their own situation.'

The obligation to prosecute

5.16 Article 5 of the Convention against Torture obliges states that have ratified it to 'take such measure as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in Article 4 in the following cases:

a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State

b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State

c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate'.

5.17 It further obliges states to 'take such measure as may be necessary to establish jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction', if it does not extradite the person to another state. This obligation is regardless of where the crime was committed, the nationality of the victim and the nationality of the alleged perpetrator. Article 7 of the Convention requires states 'under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.' The 'try or extradite' obligation under the Convention against Torture applies to territories subject to the jurisdiction of the state party, which includes any territory over which it has effective control. The Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture also obliges every state party to try or extradite people found 'within the area under its jurisdiction,' regardless of where the crime was committed or the nationality of victim and alleged perpetrator.'9

5.18 The four Geneva Conventions also require states to exercise universal jurisdiction in respect of 'grave breaches' of the Convention and bring cases before their own national courts. The Conventions require states parties to search for people alleged to have committed or ordered grave breaches of the Conventions, such as torture and inhuman treatment, or who have failed in their duties as commanding officers to prevent such grave breaches occurring. The 'search and try' obligation is without frontiers under the Geneva Conventions.

5.19 States which are not bound by any of these Conventions are still permitted to exercise universal jurisdiction if an alleged foreign perpetrator of torture is found on their territory as general or customary international law permits the exercise of universal jurisdiction over torture. Judges and prosecutors have a particularly important role to play in ensuring that these obligations are fulfilled with respect to the prosecution of people suspected of committing acts of torture or ancillary crimes.


9 Article 12, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. [...back to main text]


Fair trials

5.20 Judges and prosecutors must ensure that the trials of people accused of torture and ancillary crimes are conducted fairly under national and international law and fully respect the rights of suspects and the interests of victims and their families. Suspects must have the right to legal advice and assistance of their own choice, at all stages of the criminal proceedings. National courts should also protect victims, witnesses and their families -- including the provision of effective security. Such protection measures should not prejudice the right of suspects to a fair trial, including the right to cross-examine witnesses. This right should not, however, be permitted to be exercised in such a way as to intimidate or re-traumatise alleged victims or witnesses.

5.21 Where trials are conducted under universal jurisdiction, particular arrangements may need to be made to bring witnesses from overseas or to arrange video-link facilities, where these are available, to enable them to give evidence. Full interpretation facilities must also be provided where necessary.

Immunities, amnesties and statutes of limitation

5.22 The judiciary has a duty to carry out, within their realm of jurisdiction, the international obligations to investigate, bring to justice and punish the perpetrators of crimes of torture. No one should be allowed to claim exemption from this because of their official capacity. Amnesties and other similar measures which prevent the perpetrators of gross human rights violations, such as torture, from being brought before the courts, tried and sentenced are incompatible with state obligations under international human rights law, including the obligations to investigate, bring to justice and punish those responsible for gross human rights violations.

5.23 The Statute of the International Criminal Court specifies that it 'shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as a Head of State or Government, a member of a Government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this Statute, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence.10 Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.'11 It further states that: 'The crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court shall not be subject to any statute of limitations.'12 Although Protocol II to the four Geneva Conventions proposes that states should grant 'the broadest possible amnesty' to persons who have participated in an armed conflict following the end of hostilities, this is not believed to have been intended to provide immunity for acts amounting to war crimes.13

5.24 The Human Rights Committee has also stated: 'The Committee has noted that some States have granted amnesty in respect of acts of torture. Amnesties are generally incompatible with the duty of states to investigate such acts; to guarantee freedom from such acts within their jurisdiction; and to ensure that they do not occur in the future. States may not deprive individuals of the right to an effective remedy, including compensation and such full rehabilitation as may be possible.'14 It has stressed that these types of amnesty help to create a climate of impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations and undermine efforts to re-establish respect for human rights and the rule of law.15 The Vienna Declaration of the World Conference on Human Rights called on states to 'abrogate legislation leading to impunity for those responsible for grave violations of human rights such as torture and prosecute such violations, thereby providing a firm basis for the rule of law.'16

5.25 The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stated that 'it is unacceptable to use amnesty provisions, statutes of limitations or measures designed to remove criminal liability as a means of preventing the investigation and punishment of those responsible for gross violations of human rights such as torture, summary, extra-legal or arbitrary executions and disappearances, all of which are prohibited as breaches of non-derogable rights recognized under international human rights law.'17

5.26 Where it is within their discretion to do so, courts should, therefore, refrain from enforcing laws which are contrary to a state's international obligations and in breach of internationally-protected human rights, and declare them to be null and void.

5.27 Truth commissions often play an important role in establishing an authoritative record of the past and in providing victims with a platform to tell their stories and obtain redress. But truth commissions are not a substitute for justice in the form of full and fair prosecutions. Where truth commissions are established, they should respect due process, establish the truth, facilitate reparations to victims and make recommendations designed to prevent a repetition of the crimes. They should also operate alongside the courts in bringing perpetrators to justice and not be used as an alternative.


10 Article 27(1), Statute of the International Criminal Court. [...back to main text]

11 Article 27(2), ibid. [...back to main text]

12 Article 29, ibid. [...back to main text]

13 Article 6.5, Additional Protocol II 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. [...back to main text]

14 Human Rights Committee General Comment 20, para 15. [...back to main text]

15 Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Argentina, 5 April 1995, UN Doc CCPR/C/79/Add.46; A/50/40, para 146. [...back to main text]

16 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna 14-25 June 1993, UN Doc. A/CONF.157/23 12 July 1993, para 60. [...back to main text]

17 Case of Barrios Altos (Chumbipuma Aguirre and others v Peru), Inter-Am Ct.H.R., Judgment 14 March 2001, para 41. [...back to main text]


Causa No. 8686/2000 caratulada 'Simón, Julio, Del Cerro, Juan s/Sustracción de menores de 10 año' del registro de la Secretaría Nro. 7 de este Antonio Juzgado Nacional en lo Criminal y Correccional Federal No. 4, 6 March 2001 (Argentina)

In March 2001 a federal judge in Argentina ruled that the Punto Final Law and the Law of Due Obedience, which granted immunity from prosecution for human rights violations committed under the military government, were unconstitutional and void. This ruling related to criminal prosecutions regarding the 'disappearance' in 1978 of José Liborio Poblete Roa, his wife, Gertrudis Marta Hlaczik, and their daughter. In November 2001, the Federal Appeals Court upheld the decision.

Actuaciones Sumariales registradas bajo el No. 13.445/1999, caratuladas: "Videla Jorge Rafael y otros s/Privación Ilegal de la Libertad Personal" del registro de ésta Secretaria No.14, pertenecientes al Juzgado Nacional en lo Criminal y Correccional Federal No.7, 20 July 2001, (Argentina)

In June and July 2001, a federal judge issued three judicial decisions indicting and requesting the arrest of a number of former members of the armed forces of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay for their involvement in a criminal plan characterized by a systematic pattern of forced disappearances known as 'Operation Condor'. In his decision the judge ordered the trial and preventive arrest of the former President Jorge Rafael Videla. The judge also requested the provisional arrest, pending requests for extradition, of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet. In December 2001, in a separate decision, the judge requested the provisional arrest pending requests for extradition of the former Bolivian President, Hugo Banzer Suárez.


5.28 Punishment for crimes of torture will be determined by domestic law. However, the Convention against Torture states that states parties 'shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.'18 As well as involving acts of physical or mental violence, these crimes are often an abuse of authority and a betrayal of public trust. Where it is in their discretion to do so, judges and prosecutors should, therefore, ensure that acts of torture are treated as such. If the law has no crime by that name, or the facts cannot fit within a national definition that is narrower than the international definition, then the next most serious category of crime covering the facts should be invoked. This is so as to ensure that the court hands down a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the facts and to ensure that the premature application of periods of prescription (statutes of limitation) is avoided.


18 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984, Article 4. [...back to main text]



5.29 Judges and prosecutors should, to the maximum extent allowed by national law, also ensure that everyone who has suffered torture and other unlawful acts is aware of their right to claim compensation for moral and physical suffering and help to create the necessary conditions for them actually to benefit from this right. Victims of torture and ill-treatment have the right to know the truth about what happened to them, to see those responsible being brought to justice and to have reparations awarded for the harm done to them.

5.30 The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights, Cherif Bassiouni, attached draft basic principles and guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law (the Van Boven-Bassiouni Principles) in his final report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2000.19 The Van Boven-Bassiouni Principles, which are contained in Appendix One of this manual, acknowledge the following forms of reparation:

5.31 Sometimes victims need expensive long-term medical care or therapy. Sometimes they are unable to work as a result of their experiences or they find their lives fundamentally altered in other ways. If torture has been inflicted by state agents, or with their acquiescence, the state must, as far as possible, repair the harm that it has done. Where it is within their discretion, judges should ensure that victims of torture receive redress that fully reflects the grave and serious nature of the crime to which they have been subjected. If the victim dies as a result of torture, the person's dependents are entitled to redress.

5.32 The Special Rapporteur on the Question of Impunity, Louis Joinet, elaborated a set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity in his 1997 report to the UN Commission on Human Rights (the Joinet Principles).20 These principles include:


19. UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/62, 18 January 2000. [...back to main text]

20. UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/20/Rev.1, 2 October 1997. [...back to main text]


P v Marksman & Anor, St Vincent & the Grenadines, High Court, 13 April 1999, [2000] 1 LRC 1, (1999) 2 CHRLD 430, (St Vincent & the Grenadines)

P, a prisoner, successfully applied to the High Court for a declaration that the Superintendent of Prisons had violated his constitutional right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment by ordering him to be flogged with a Cat-o-nine tails and to be shackled in solitary confinement for an extended period of time.

In July 1997 the Court held that flogging with a Cat-o-nine tails (as a punishment for attacking a prison guard) contravened the Constitutional prohibition on torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Citing earlier cases in Zimbabwe and South Africa with approval, the Judge held that: 'Such flogging is incompatible with the standards of decency that are expected of the Prison Service. It brutalises not only the person being flogged, but also it brutalises the society that permits it. It breeds hatred and bitterness of the law and of society. Flogging with a Cat-o-nine tails meets the definition of torture found at Article 1 of the UN Declaration on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders... Today, let the Cat-o-nine tail whip of the Male Prison in St Vincent take its place in the prison museum along with such other instruments as the rack, the whipping post, the thumb screw, and the body cage in which rebellious West Indians were once suspended until they had starved to death.'

The Court held that the liability of the state to pay compensation for breaches of constitutional rights is based on its primary liability for its wrongful action, and not on a vicarious liability for torts committed by its servants. Exemplary damages are payable for high-handed and oppressive conduct by officers of the state. In assessing the exemplary damages a Court should take account of the injury the plaintiff has endured to his or her dignity and pride, mental suffering and loss of reputation. Awards for exemplary damages must balance the competing interests of the state in preserving law and order and the citizen in not having his or her constitutional rights violated. In view of the considerable pain and suffering suffered by the applicant, the assault on his dignity and the distress, inconvenience, disgrace and humiliation caused to him, the applicant was awarded compensatory damages. Pursuant to their broad discretion to enforce constitutional rights under the Constitution, the Courts may, inter alia, initiate legal proceedings against public officials responsible for breaches of constitutional rights, award damages against them or subject them to disciplinary proceedings. In view of the failure of both the state and the Superintendent of Prisons to make a written apology for violating P's constitutional rights, P was also awarded exemplary damages. The Court further ordered disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against the Superintendent of Prisons.


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5 Prosecuting suspected torturers and providing redress to the victims of torture: section links...
Prosecuting suspected torturers and providing redress to the victims of torture - Torture as a criminal offence - Culpability for crimes of torture or other forms of ill-treatment - Identifying and prosecuting those responsible - The obligation to prosecute - Fair trials - Immunities, amnesties and statutes of limitation - Punishment - Redress
Manual links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Introduction - 1: The Prohibition of Torture in International Law - 2: Safeguards Against Torture - 3: The Role of Judges and Prosecutors - 4: Conducting Investigations and Inquiries - 5: Prosecuting Suspected Torturers and Providing Redress - Appendices
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