Prison bars

REDRESS Responds to Call for Input from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on the Duty to Investigate Crimes of Torture

REDRESS has responded to a call for input from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Dr Alice Edwards, on the challenges preventing effective accountability and justice for victims and survivors of torture, and good practices on the duty to investigate crimes of torture.

The input received will inform the report that the Special Rapporteur will present at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in February.

REDRESS’s submission builds on research undertaken for our reports Unequal Justice and Anti-torture Standards in Africa and our briefing paper Torture-tainted trials in Sudan, which shed light on the prevalence of torture and other ill-treatment in 15 African States, and the challenges that victims face in securing accountability for this crime.

Despite the persistent use of torture and other ill-treatment, effective investigations and prosecutions remain rare in these States due to overlapping legal, regulatory, practical, political-cultural, societal, and institutional barriers. As a result, a climate of impunity for torture persists, creating a culture of mistrust between victims and State authorities. The situation is worse in the case of torture or other ill-treatment suffered by vulnerable individuals and groups, including LGBTIQ+ persons and human rights defenders.

REDRESS’s submission identifies:

  • Inadequacies in national legal frameworks against torture, including the failure to properly criminalise torture, and procedural barriers to accountability;
  • Obstacles to national investigations and prosecutions of torture, in particular illustrated by the case of Sudan;
  • Specific challenges for the investigation of discriminatory torture, in particular torture against LGBTIQ+ persons and human rights defenders;
  • Opportunities to strengthen mutual legal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of torture as an international crime.

Read the submission

Photo by Nyani Quarmyre/PANOS Pictures