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Volume 19 | 2009: The Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture

Author: Kerstin Buchinger

The Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture
Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2009 

The phenomenon of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has already existed in the Ancient World. Since then, it seems to have been used in almost all societies and has – to this day – obviously never been fully eliminated. Even though the specific practices of torture have changed in the course of time, the phenomenon itself, being the most horrific form of state arbitrariness, is still widespread all around the world.

The aim of this book is to examine the manner in which prevention is understood in the range of combating torture at the international level and through the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The first part sets the scene by giving a historical overview in the first chapter as well as by explaining the development of the Protocol’s text in the second chapter.

The second part includes an examination of the contents of the OPCAT. For that purpose, the Protocol is being interpreted on an Article-by-Article basis, trying to compare important provisions with those of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ECPT), which was one of the major role models for the OPCAT.

Finally, the third part of the book focuses on the Austrian perspective and tempts to find out whether the Austrian Human Rights Advisory Board, currently being installed in order to monitor the conditions of detention in places subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, is qualified for being designated as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). For this purpose, the OPCAT-requirements for such National Preventive Mechanisms are being examined and the structure and mandate of the Human Rights Advisory Board are being looked at from a critical perspective.

You can find the book here.