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A Monegasque delegation at the UN committee against torture


From 20th to 23rd May 2011, a Monegasque delegation travelled to Geneva from 20th to 23rd May 2011, for the examination, by the UN Committee against torture, of Monaco’s periodic report concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The delegation, headed by H.E. Mr Philippe Narmino, Director of Judicial Services, consisted of H.E. Mr Robert Fillon, the Principality of Monaco's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, as well as members of the Office of Judicial Services, the Ministry of External Relations and the Permanent Representation to the United Nations in Geneva.

Ms Saadia Belmir, the President, opened the thousandth meeting of the Committee against torture, by giving a brief overview of its 23 years of work. She praised all the members who had served on the Committee and noted that since 1988, 280 reports presented by 116 countries had been examined. She pointed out that the Committee had also examined over 300 individual complaints and had carried out 7 investigations concerning the systematic practice of torture.

Presenting the report for the Principality, H.E. Mr Philippe Narmino said that for the period concerned, no act of torture or inhuman treatment had been brought to the knowledge of the public, administrative or judicial authorities. He went on to add that this specific situation did not encroach upon the public authorities’ continual concern to prevent any acts of torture and other bad treatment.

He pointed out that the Monegasque Constitution established the independence of the judiciary services vis-à-vis the executive power and that it prohibits the death penalty, in addition to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

He also spoke of the recent revisions to the Monegasque Law amending certain provisions of the criminal code and more specifically the standards governing pre-trial detention and those governing custody. Moreover, the nature of recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights shall require the Monegasque authorities to amend further the actual substance of these provisions.

Then he spoke of the reinforcement by the Principality of its legislative system concerning the sanction of crimes against children and against vulnerable persons in general, the prevention measures and victim support, as well as the legal aid system. Finally, he highlighted constant improvements to the detention conditions in the Principality’s only prison.

Furthermore, as far as the situation of offenders handed over to France is concerned, the Monegasque judicial authorities have undertaken negotiations with France to jointly ascertain modalities providing visiting rights of detained persons by a judge from the Principality of Monaco to French prisons, a process that should be completed within the next few months.
In response to this presentation, the Committee showed its appreciation for the high level of representation of the Monegasque delegation as well as the remarkable efforts made overall by the Principality in order to better comply with the requirements of the Convention.

The Committee asked for further information which was provided by the Delegation concerning the definition of torture into Monegasque law, its incrimination and punishment, the possibility to appeal against return and expulsion orders, medical staff training, transfer and monitoring of transferred prisoners, the repeal procedure for victims of torture or forced hospitalisation or civil servants or public officials that receive illegal orders.

Last but not least, the delegation pointed out when providing answers, the Principality’s geopolitical, human, economic and social specificities.

The Committee against torture will shortly make recommendations to the Monegasque authorities which will be adopted following the examination of Monaco’s report.

Papers pertaining to the Principality’s report and its examination can be consulted on the Committee against torture’s website www2.ohchr.org/french/bodies/cat

From left to right (copyright: DR): Mr Jean-Laurent Ravera, Head of Mission at the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Unit
H.E. Mr Philippe Narmino, Director of Judicial Services,
H.E. Mr Robert Fillon, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations Office in Geneva,
Ms Marina Ceyssac, Adviser to the Director of Judicial Services,
Ms Antonella Sampo-Couma, Principal Administrator at the Office of Judicial Services,
Mr Gilles Réalini, Second Secretary, Permanent Representation to the United Nations in Geneva
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