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CAT Individual Complaints

last updated Jan 19, 2009

Article 22 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) gives private individuals the right to lodge with the Committee against Torture complaints regarding the violation by a State Party of one or more provisions of the Convention. For the Committee to admit and examine individual communications, its competence in that regard must have been expressly recognised by the State concerned, and the individual must be subject to the State Party’s jurisdiction. If the alleged victim is not in a position to submit a communication, his or her relatives or representatives may act on his or her behalf.

The Committee accepts communications only if the same matter has not been, or is not being, examined by another procedure of international investigation or settlement, and if the individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies.

If the Committee decides a communication is admissible, it informs the author and State Party concerned. The State Party then has six months to submit to the Committee written statements clarifying the case and indicating any remedial measures taken. The Committee then examines the communication in closed session, considering all the information made available to it by and forwards its views (decisions) to the individual and State Party concerned.