The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has today issued a public statement on the Russian Federation urging the Russian authorities to take decisive action to eradicate the phenomenon of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials in the Chechen Republic and elsewhere in the Northern Caucasian region of the Russian Federation, including through the conduct of effective investigations whenever relevant information comes to light.

The public statement is made in application of Article 10 (2) of the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture which provides that the Committee itself may issue a public statement if a Party to the Convention “fails to co-operate or refuses to improve the situation in the light of the Committee’s recommendations”.

Speaking as the public statement was released, the CPT 1st Vice-President Mark Kelly, who served as Head of delegation during the CPT’s 2017 visit to the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, said:

“For the CPT, it is of grave concern that, notwithstanding the efforts it has made over the last 20 years, torture of detained persons in the Chechen Republic has remained a deep-rooted problem. This speaks not only to a dereliction of duty at the level of the Republic’s authorities, but also to a failure of effective oversight and control at the federal level.”

It is clear from the information gathered by the Committee in the course of its visits that resort to torture and other forms of ill-treatment by members of law enforcement agencies in the Chechen Republic remains widespread, as does the related practice of unlawful detentions which inevitably heightens significantly the risk of resort to ill-treatment. Further, it remains deeply worrying that in their responses to the CPT’s visit reports the Russian authorities have failed to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

The widespread practice of police ill-treatment, including torture, is not unique to this republic of the Russian Federation; this problem has been repeatedly highlighted by the CPT in respect of other republics of the North Caucasian region.

The full text of the CPT’s Public Statement on the Russian Federation is available in English and French, as well as in Russian.

This is the fourth time the CPT has made a public statement concerning the Northern Caucasian region of the Russian Federation. The previous statements were made in 2001, 2003 and 2007.

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