Summary prepared by the Secretary-General in accordance with resolution 18 (XXXIV) of the Commission on Human Rights.
|UN Document Symbol||E/CN.4/1314/Add.3|
|Convention||Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment|
|Subjects||Torture and Other Cruel Treatment|
27 February 1979
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 10 of the provisional agenda
QUESTION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL PERSONS SUBJECTED TO ANY FORM OF DETENTION OR IMPRISONMENT, IN PARTICULAR; (a) DRAFT CONVENTION ON TORTURE _,ND OTHER GRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT
Summary prepared by the Secretary-General in accordance With resolution 18 (XXXIV)of the commission human rights
Introduction ............ ... 1 2 2
I. General remarks (continued) . 3, 4 2
II. Comments on the draft articles (continued) ....... 5-7 2-3
1. This report, which is the third addendum to the summary prepared by the
Secretary-General in implementation of Commission on Hunan Rights
resolution 18 (XXXIV), summarizes further information received up to 27 February 1979.
2. The only additional comments received are those of the Holy See.
I. GENERAL REMARKS (continued)
3. The Holy See referred to its outright condemnation of torture and mentioned
in particular that Pope Pius XII, in his address to the Sixth Congress of the
International Association of Penal Law (Home, 3 October 1953), had expressed
himself as follows;
"Physical and men-teal torture and microanalysis should be excluded from the process of judicial examination, firstly because they violate a natural right, even If the accused is really guilty, and then because they too' often produce mistaken results. It is no rarity for them to result in exactly the confessions desired by the court and the undoing of the accused, not because he is in fact guilty but because his physical and mental energies have given out and he is ready to make any and every statement that may be wanted ...1/
Pope Paul VI had also referred to the problem, in particular at the general audience of 21 October 1970
"Torture, that is to say cruel and inhuman police methods of wringing confessions from the lips of prisoners, is to be condemned outright. It is not admissible today, not even for the purpose of administering justice and upholding public order. It is not tolerable even when it is practiced by subordinate .agencies without orders or permission from higher authorities, on whom the responsibility for such abuses and such dishonoring acts of violence may recoil." .1/
4. The Holy See hopes that efforts will be made to provide the future Convention
against Torture with effective machinery of control. The Holy See is aware of
the complexity of the subject and of its many implications for national sovereignty, but nevertheless considers that a provision for an international guarantee of application of the Convention would be very useful.
II. COMMENTS ON THE DRIFT ARTICLES (continued)
5. The Inclusion of torture among crimes under international law (as provided
by article I of the International Association of Penal Law draft) seems
acceptable, because the practice of torture constitutes a very grave violation of
the universally felt principle of respect for the integrity of the human person.
1/ Translation by the United Nations Secretariat.
6. The Holy See considers that a provision rejecting any justification of torture en grounds of exceptional circumstances (a principle embodied in article VI of the International Association of Penal Law draft and article 2 of the Swedish. draft) would be highly opportune, having regard to certain schools of thought that are prone to give national security priority over the rights of the person,
7. Over and above control measures, the Convention should not neglect the irreplaceable role of education in the broadest sense of the term, A programme of training for those responsible for law enforcement, a programme guided by the principles of respect for human dignity and integrity, will yield the most valid results. This is most opportunely pointed out in article 5 of the Swedish draft.