According to Amnesty International, ill-treatment and torture are practiced in around 140 countries globally. Regrettably, such incidents still happen in Europe. However, they are mostly associated with armed conflicts (Creamer, 2016). A lot of people have undergone severe pain because of torture and face the range of overwhelming long-term consequences. Survivors of torture regularly experience headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, flashbacks, panic attacks, depression, and nightmares (Creamer, 2016). Because of the feeling of the loss of dignity and shame due to the torture, victims often suffer from stigmatization in social isolation and community (Creamer, 2016). Additionally, post-traumatic stress disorder influences both the victims and their families. When left untreated, the effects of torture will extend throughout the individual's lifetime and even across generations resulting in a corrosive effect on the entire societies.
Re-Establishing Human Dignity
The restoration of human dignity is the ultimate objective of the provision in redress. Hence, the responsibility of states to offer compensation to victims of torture has two elements. The first component is substantive especially in the form of reparation (rehabilitation, compensation, restitution, a guarantee of non-repetition, and satisfaction). The second element is procedural in the type of effective remedy (Creamer, 2016). The latter needs institutional mechanisms and proper legislative framework which allows effective and prompt investigation. It will result in punishment and prosecution of those who are responsible for the violations. The idea of an effective solution encompasses a victim’s right to contribute to those proceedings to defend his or her legitimate interests. When looking for compensation, victims of severe human rights violations, for instance, torture, may encounter obstacles. For example, in Serbia, the awaiting draft legislation on damages excludes 15000 civilian victims of the wartime torture and sexual violence. Therefore, the judiciary has set an elevated standard of proof in proceedings concerned. In the Russian Federation, the amount of damages in the torture cases may vary significantly from one area to another. In most cases, the damages received are inadequate as compared to harm suffered (Leopold, 2016). Nevertheless, the standards that are set up by European Court of Human Rights play a significant part in influencing the domestic courts when raising compensation to a sufficient level.
Therefore, monetary compensation alone will not be regarded as a sufficient redress for victims of torture. On the other hand, setting things right following such traumatic life experiences as ill-treatment or torture needs long-term or holistic rehabilitation efforts to reinstate mental and physical ability, dignity, and social independence of persons involved and their full re-inclusion in the community. As a result, the rehabilitation process must include not only psychological and medical care but also educational, legal, social, and other measures plus family support (Frohne, 2016). Hence, to be efficient, rehabilitation should be victim-centred and offered at the probable initial summit after the torture incident that is based on recommendations by skilled health professionals (Frohne, 2016). Thus, rehabilitation must be tailored to specific requirements of the given victim.
The UN Secretariat for Committee against Torture motivates NGOs to organize their reports and information to submit the consolidated reports with reliable, clear, precise, and accurate information. Additionally, the report should identify the NGO that submits anonymous data not acknowledged and drafted in non-abusive language (Frohne, 2016). The data must not contain the name of the victims apart from the public cases or when the consent of victims and their families is obtained.
The development of legislation includes amendments to law concerning confinement procedures that reduce the maximum period which an individual may be alleged in the brief detention facility (IVS) for three days. Therefore, the amendments also enhance detention listing procedures and rights to notify legal counsel and family members (NGO Coaltion, 2016). The changes to CPC demand that detention begins from the time of de-facto withdrawal of liberty. A detainee may have classified meetings with a legal representative from the time of factual confinement before the interrogations (NGO Coaltion, 2016). Moreover, arresting officers may now be obliged to tell detainees their rights at the time of detention; the identity of restraining agents has to be documented in detention protocol that should be made in three hours after the individual arrives at the police station (NGO Coaltion, 2016). These amendments also insist that medical assessment is obligatory before placing the suspect in the detention facility to establish his/her state of health. Hence, the lawyer may request a medical assessment by a self-governing professional (NGO Coaltion, 2016). When the medical assessment and detention procedure are finished, the detainee has to be moved directly to IVS.
Example of Tajikistan
The recent legislative modification addresses the chief obstacles to prevent ill-treatment and torture in criminal justice structure in Tajikistan. Here, the NGO alliance against the torture in Tajikistan documented forty-five new grievances of abuse and torture in 2014 and thirty-seven in 2016 (NGO Coaltion, 2016). Most of the victims desist from lodging complaints on ill-treatment and torture because of the fear of retaliation and belief that they are unlikely to find justice. Consequently, to date, most of the cases of ill-treatment and torture have distress suspects in untimely hours of confinement.
Subsequently, the legislative adjustments focus on the courts. Thus, Article 88 of CPC related to the inadmissibility of testimony acquired under torture claims that the factual information concerning ill-treatment or torture may be considered as a proof regardless of whether an appeal or complaint about the persecution has been lodged with detainee's defence lawyer (NGO Coaltion, 2016).
The main changes reflect the recommendations formed by the UN Commission in November 2012 (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 2000). In 2012, the UN Human Rights Commission chose the problem of safeguards by untimely hours of incarceration as a matter of code concern and considering Tajikistan’s report on follow-up in 2014 ruled that the previous recommendations were not adequately implemented. Therefore, the recommendations created by the UN Human Rights Universal Council Periodic Review to facilitate affording the necessary safeguards from the outset of detention.
Access to justice is a significant characteristic of the right to redress. It implies the criminal investigation of the allegations of ill-treatment and torture (or the ex officio investigation in the absence of complaint) as well as impartial and fair judicial proceedings in the reasonable time and enforcement of choices taken. Thus, the likelihood of participating enthusiastically in proceedings is paramount and would constitute the part of rehabilitation process (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 2000). Frequent participation in the proceedings may contribute to the restoration of victims' sense of justice and dignity (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 2000). Therefore, testifying will bring the sense of empowerment, thus attenuating adverse effects of human rights violations experienced.
Torture and other cruel, degrading, and inhuman punishments amount to the attempts to destroy people both mentally and physically. Hence, these actions may never be justified in most circumstances by any overriding interests and ideology. During 1999 OSCE Summit, the OSCE participating nations recommitted themselves to eradicating cruelty and torture, degrading and inhumane treatment as well as assisting victims of ill-treatment and torture (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 2000). Therefore, the meeting identified advanced training and substantial transparency in the imperative areas to focus OSCE efforts.
Consequently, the available mechanisms and procedures should be implemented and conceived with a particular care to avoid individual's re-victimisation. It is especially paramount in the context of the criminal proceedings when admiration of the code of the presumption of innocence for defendants, strict rules concerning the acceptance of evidence, cross-examinations and questioning of the grievances may once more expose victims to humiliation and trauma. Additionally, attention must be devoted to saving the victims from retaliation and intimidation because of their involvement in judicial proceedings.
Other obstacles in offering an efficient remedy to the victims of ill-treatment or torture include the application of the statutes of limitation for specific offenses, amnesties, and immunities for violations (United Nations, 2016). Even though the statutes of limitations must not apply to the serious violations of human rights, behavior amounting to torture and other forms of ill-treatment will not always be qualified as such under the criminal provisions (United Nations, 2016). Often individuals who in some member nations of the Council of Europe encounter the instances of torture are prosecuted in terms of criminal provisions like abuse of authority and infliction of light bodily injury (United Nations, 2016). Then, the application of immunities and amnesties deprives the casualties of reparation as an efficient remedy for harm sustained.
President Barack Obama had given an executive order after taking office in 2009. It institutes a Special Task Force on Transfer and Interrogation Policies. Moreover, the Task Force comprised of the senior administration executives and had a charter calling for the lawful interrogations, closure of the CIA black location facilities, and the study of the U.S. detainee transfer guidelines to make sure that they have been compiled with international and domestic laws. This task force prevented the transfer of people to other states and facing torture (Leopold, 2016). The working group made various changes that were aimed at improving the U.S. capacity to facilitate treatment of people taken to other states (Leopold, 2016). Additionally, it is recommended that the agency attaining assurances from the foreign nations insists on the monitoring mechanism or establish the control mechanism, ensure consistent and private access to the person who was transferred with minimal advancement to the detaining administration. However, the diplomatic assurances claim that detainees may not be tortured, which was the crucial argument in Obama’s administration effort to shut Guantanamo (Leopold, 2016). They are inefficient and unreliable in the fight against ill-treatment and torture; thus, the U.S. must not opt to them (Leopold, 2016). The UN reporter on counterterrorism and human rights stated that they have not observed diplomatic assurances exercised by the administration to avoid an absolute ban of ill-treatment or torture as recognized in UN Convention against Abuse and Torture.
To ensure full rehabilitation and redress for the survivors, the nations must ratify the relevant international instruments and make sure that domestic legislation is in full compliance with the international standards. Therefore, the holistic rehabilitation process should offer the full aid to allow the affected people to restore their lives and regain their place in the community. Hence, the previous efforts should be accompanied by the anti-torture measures of preventative nature including zero-acceptance message, specialized training for the public executive as well as the firm commitment to fight impunity. As a result, if it is measured against horrors experienced by those people who survived negative repercussions on the community, it is the least a nation can do.