Time for States to present candidates to the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

Monday, June 11, 2018

In view of the upcoming elections of the future members of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) on 25 October 2018, the APT has prepared a guidance note to assist State authorities, civil society and other stakeholders in identifying the most qualified candidates. With an increasing number of States parties to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) – 88 since April 2018 – States will have the opportunity to present and elect the most competent candidates.

Elections represent an opportunity to strengthen the composition and expertise of the SPT. At the next SPT elections, 13 members will be elected for a term of four years. The deadline for the nomination of candidates by States parties to the OPCAT is 14 August 2018.

Considering the diversity of SPT duties, the APT recommends, in its guidance note, that States take into account a variety of different criteria, including independence and impartiality, professional expertise, personal skills, availability and diversity. With its 25 members, the SPT is the largest UN Treaty body.

The role of its members is also unique, as is based on a preventive approach and focusing essentially on the domestic implementation of the OPCAT. SPT members have the mandate to:

  • Visit various types of places of detention in any State party to the treaty;
  • Interview persons deprived of their liberty; and
  • Provide advice to States and National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) on OPCAT implementation.

SPT members are expected to maintain a constructive dialogue with State authorities and work constructively with NPMs, civil society and other relevant actors.

This complex and demanding mandate requires that SPT members possess a number of different competencies and specific skills, which is why the APT has prepared a guidance note to assist State authorities, civil society and other stakeholders in identifying the most qualified candidates, following a public procedure at the national level.