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Nomination of an Irish Member to the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Charles Flanagan, T.D., is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced persons for consideration for appointment as the Irish member on the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

Role of the CPT

The CPT was set up under the Council of Europe’s European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which came into force in 1989. It builds on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The CPT is not an investigative body, but provides a non-judicial preventative mechanism to protect persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. It thus complements the judicial work of the European Court of Human Rights.   

The CPT organises visits to places of detention in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, etc. Members do not visit the State in respect of which they have been elected. CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information. After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, recommendations, comments and requests for information. The CPT also requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report. Its report and the State’s response thereto form part of the ongoing dialogue with the States concerned.

Members of the Committee are persons of high moral character who are known for their competence in the field of human rights or have professional experience in the areas covered by the Convention. Emphasis is placed on gender balance and a greater participation of prison specialist and forensic scientists. Suitably qualified persons may have practical experience of the CPT, or other European or international expertise in relevant areas. The CPT’s current membership is composed of independent and impartial experts drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds including lawyers, medical doctors and specialists in prison or police matters.

Candidates should note that particular emphasis is placed on the importance of language skills of members for their ability to perform their functions effectively. Resolution 2160 (2017), paragraph 6.1.1 refers which calls on national delegates “to ensure that the candidates have an excellent command of at least one of the official languages of the Council of Europe (English or French), and at least a passive knowledge of the second official language”.

Candidates should also note that there will be a significant time commitment required, possibly in the order of 40 days or more per annum, for meetings and country visits.

Nomination process

A shortlist of the most suitably qualified candidates will be placed before the Minister for consideration based on an examination of the applications received. The Minister may, at his discretion, consider and select additional persons from outside this list.

A final three candidates, who have been endorsed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will be placed before the Bureau of the Assembly for consideration by the Committee of Ministers.

Term of Office and Remuneration

The appointment will be made by the Council of Europe for four years and is not renewable. The incumbent may not be reappointed, but may apply in open competition to be re-nominated as one of the three candidates, and may be re-elected twice (i.e. to a maximum of three terms in office).

The member is not paid but will receive expenses and allowances according to rules set by the Council of Europe. Further detail on these rules is available from the CPT itself.

Information about the CPT, its work and current membership is available at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/.

How to apply

You should apply by submitting;

  1. a detailed CV in Word format – see Appendix 1 (MSWORD);  and

  2. a covering letter outlining your significant achievements and experience and relevance of your expertise to the requirements of membership of the CPT.

Both documents at (i) and (ii) above must be emailed to cptappointment2019@justice.ie

Questions and Inquiries

If there are issues on which you require clarification please email cptappointment2019@justice.ie

Closing Date:

The closing date for applications is close of business on Monday 4 March 2019.