As one of the activities that lies within the framework of the International Day to Support Victims of Torture’s revival, which falls on 26 June of each year, The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat” is publishing this paper to highlight the main principles of effective application of the UN Convention against Torture. The occasion this year comes six years after the State of Palestine accessed the convention. An assessment was implemented to study the concept of an effective application of the agreement that lies within the extent of the Palestinian bestead. It was found that the Palestinian government endorsed several decisions and decrees prohibiting torture, and drafted individual and unified codes of conduct for the security and police agencies that include the prohibition of torture, as well as opening these departments to the monitoring process of Civil Society Organizations allowing them to visit detention and interrogation centers.
According to the aforementioned, it must be emphasized that the criterion for effective implementation of the provisions of the UNCAT is through taking a set of judicial and legislative measures that would harmonize Palestinian legislation with the provisions of the Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the criminalization of torture as a detached crime in Palestinian law. Accordingly, it is crucial to put in place executive regulations that enable judges to calculate moral compensation for victims of torture and ill-treatment, and until that is achieved, the official authorities should take urgent measures to combat and reduce the crime of torture, as follows:
First: Assuring the respect of the relationship basic elements between the public prosecution as the only body authorized to initiate and investigate the public lawsuit and members of the judicial police from the security and police agencies according to the Criminal Procedures Law No. 3 of 2001. This as a matter of fact requires the interpretation of the concept of the military affair in accordance to the objective criterion, not the personal as explained by the Constitutional Court in its decision related to the interpretation of Article 53 of the Police Law presidential decree of 2017.
Second: Establishing the national mechanism for the prevention of torture and respecting the international standards that regulate its work and ensuring its independence and commitment to implement its recommendations without invoking any circumstance to evade the immediate implementation of these recommendations.
Third: The Ministry of Interior is requested to establish a national government team whose mission is to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation whenever an act of torture was suspected to take place within the legal and judicial jurisdiction of the State of Palestine and to refer perpetrators of this crime to the related authorities to hold them accountable, putting into consideration that the crime of torture does not drop by statute of limitations
Fourth: The Palestinian government is requested to endorse Article 22 of the Convention against Torture, according which this state recognizes the jurisdiction of the Committee against Torture to receive and study complaints from individuals who claim to be subjected to torture in its jurisdiction.
Fifth: Enacting Family Protection law, and considering the silence of official employees in taking effective measures that hold perpetrators of discrimination-based violence as a form of torture and ill-treatment.
Sixth: The government should address the ineffective existing civil procedures that should provide adequate redress to victims, and working on activating mechanisms that are accessible to victims of torture and ill-treatment, by establishing a national fund to provide redress to victims of torture. The establishment of this fund serves in overcoming the mandatory assignation between criminal and civil action as a condition for civil compensation, whereas, obtaining prompt and adequate compensation for acts of torture and ill-treatment under Article 14 of the Convention is a multi-level right.
Finally, we are approaching the world’s human rights activists and believers of the principles of human rights and international law that it is necessary to support the Palestinian people’s right to be liberated from occupation as the main violator of the rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to self-determination.
Hats off to our prisoners in Israeli jails who are subject to systematic torture by the occupation authorities including ailing prisoners who are living tragic situations as a result of the Prison Authority’s failure to provide them with appropriate treatment, which causes them constant suffering that can be considered as a form of torture and ill-treatment, so it is necessary to work together towards a Torture-Free Palestinian state where no human rights violations exist.
The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights