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Benin: Supporting the Implementation of the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol


Thursday, September 18, 2008

An APT delegation visited Benin from 24 to 29 August to support the implementation process of the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol. The APT and the Ministry of Justice organised a national seminar on the follow-up to the concluding observations of the CAT on the second periodic report of Benin. The seminar analyzed the concluding observations and adopted a roadmap on the way forward towards implementation of the Convention. The APT and the Ministry of Justice met with the follow-up Working Group designated by the seminar. They drafted a proposal to amend respectively the draft penal code and the draft penal procedure code currently under review. This proposal will be submitted by the Ministry of Justice to the Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Legislation for consideration.

 

Date:
24 - 29 August 2008
Place:
Benin
Partners:
Ministry of Justice
Purpose:
  • To support the prevention of torture in Benin by ensuring the effective implementation of the UNCAT and the OPCAT.
  • To provide Benin authorities with a road map to help them to take appropriate measures to implement the UNCAT provisions.
  • To provide Benin authorities with technical support to daft a legislation domesticating the UNCAT provisions including criminalization of torture.
  • To provide the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Legislation with technical assistance in the drafting discussions on the NPM law.
Activities:
In July 2007, a national seminar was jointly organized by the APT and the Ministry of Justice on OPCAT towards the Establishment of an effective NPM. The seminar, which gathered key actors reviewed the obligations and implications of the OPCAT and assessed the current national situation in Benin (current visiting mechanisms in place, gaps, needs…) and came up with a range of recommendations to serve as a 'roadmap' to guide the authorities in establishing an effective NPM. Subsequently, a draft law on the establishment of the NPM was prepared by the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Justice and submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Legislation for consideration.

In parallel, the CAT (Committee Against Torture) examined the second periodic report of Benin in November 2007 and issued concluding recommendations on the 22 November 2007. On the 23 April 2008, the Cabinet of Benin (Conseil des Ministres) endorsed the CAT recommendations and requested the Minister of Justice to take measures for their implementation. The Minister of Justice was also asked to consider possible cooperation with the APT for the effective implementation the UNCAT in general.

It is in this context that from 24 to 29 August 2008, an APT delegation travelled to Benin to support the implementation process of the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol.

The APT organised, jointly with the Ministry of Justice, a national seminar on the follow-up to the concluding observations of the CAT on the second periodic report of Benin. The meeting gathered Government officials, members of the judiciary, law enforcement officials as well as NGOs representatives. The seminar analyzed the concluding observations of the CAT and adopted a roadmap on the way forward towards implementation of the Convention. It recommended, inter alia, that the Minister of Justice liaise with the Parliamentary Commission on Legislation in order to integrate the criminalization of torture in the draft law on the reform of the Penal Code under consideration before this commission. It also requested to accelerate the process of establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) as required by the OPCAT.

In this connection, the APT experts together with the representatives of the Ministry of Justice met with the follow-up Working Group designated by the seminar. They drafted a proposal to amend respectively the draft penal code and the draft penal procedure code currently under review. This proposal will be submitted by the Ministry of Justice to the Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Legislation for consideration.

The APT also facilitated the working session of the inter-ministerial commission on legislation (commission nationale de legislation et de codification) where the draft law creating an NPM (Observatory for the Prevention of Torture in Benin) was discussed and approved. This constitutes an important step which is necessary prior to the adoption of the NPM law by Parliament.
Outcome:
  • NPM draft law approved at the level of the inter-ministerial Commission on Legislation.
  • Legal elements on criminalization of torture and amendments to the penal procedure code drafted.
  • Appropriate elements now ready for integration within the penal and penal procedure codes of Benin to domesticate UNCAT provisions.
The APT will continue to support relevant actors in Benin towards the effective implementation of the international instruments on torture prevention.
Documents:
'Roadmap' to establishing an effective NPM.
Contact Person:
Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, APT Africa Programme Officer

 

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