In the nearest future the Interregional Committee against Torture together with its partner – International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) are planning to send a petition proposing measures to combat tortures on the territory of Russia to the Russian President, Mr. Dmitry A. Medvedev. For this purpose the CAT and IRCT are gathering signatures in support of the petition.
We urge you to join this action and sign the address. You can do this on the following web-page: http://togetheragainsttorture.org/petition/
The text of the petition:
Dear President Medvedev,
We are writing to you in your capacity as head of the Russian State to take the necessary measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that occurs nationwide.
Results of the research conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science together with CAT show that every fifth Russian citizen was at least once during his life subjected to illegal violence from the side of state officials.
The practice of torture undermines the dignity and integrity, not only of direct victims, but of Russian society in general. Torture is a crime against humanity, the goal of which is to humiliate and dehumanize people and communities by destroying their solidarity and trust – trust in the State and in themselves.
We remind you that international law obliges Russia to investigate and document incidents of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and to punish those responsible in a comprehensive, effective, prompt and impartial manner. Fortunately, there exists a tool for doing this. The Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or the Istanbul Protocol, contain internationally recognized standards and procedures on how to recognize and document the signs of torture so the documentation may serve as valid evidence in court. The majority of standards included in the Istanbul Protocol already exists in the national legislation, but are not implemented as a rule – and this causes systematic failures to investigate torture allegations effectively.
We, the undersigned, urge the Russian government to take the following actions to combat torture and ensure this crime does not go unpunished in Russia:
1. Russian authorities must express political will to implement international standards of effective procedures for investigation of torture allegations. An aggressive ban on torture should be included into national legislation and enforced in practice.
2. The Russian authorities should analyze and evaluate practices used by law enforcement agencies to maintain public order and to combat crime, in order to identify those severe violations of human rights, determine underlying reasons for such practices, and design comprehensive measures for their elimination.
3. The Russian state should establish and operate effective domestic procedures for the investigation and documentation of all torture allegations in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol and practice of the European Court of Human Rights.
4. The Russian authorities should provide hands-on training in methods of investigating torture, cruel and degrading treatment, as outlined in the Istanbul Protocol to relevant doctors, judges and prosecutors and promote inclusion of such training in university curricula for these professions.
5. The Russian authorities should adopt a series of measures, including legislation, to ensure that torture victims receive access to investigation consistent with standards established by the United Nations Convention against Torture and European Convention.
6.The Russian authorities should ensure that decisions of the ECHR are implemented in an accurate and timely manner.
7. The Russian authorities should promote a spirit of collaboration with the Russian civil society in order to establish effective and independent control over state bodies and to guarantee effective investigation of each torture allegation.
Brita Sydhoff Igor Kalyapin
Secretary-General, IRCT Chairman, INGO CAT