Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials" (Appendix 2). Both instru

ments were adopted by consensus.

The General Assembly decided to transmit

[the Code of Conduct] to Governments with the recommendation that favor

able consideration should be given to its use within the framework of national legislation or practice as a body of principles for observance by law enforcement officials." In other words, since the Member States, as represented in the United Nations, have not provided themselves with a direct enforcement mechanism for the Declaration against Torture or the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the duty rests with national governments to implement these basic international human rights instruments by national means, and the Secretariat of the United Nations can merely provide assistance to national governments in this regard. A number of national governments have proceded forthwith to implement the Code. Thus, in Norway, a Norwegian translation was immediately published and distributed to, and exhibited at, all police stations, for implementation as an administrative regulation. In a number of countries the Code is used in the training of officers at police academies. Several non-governmental organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Police Association, have given the Code wide publicity in their international publications, and the International Police Association, with the support of the Government of Austria, has held international seminars to propagate the contents of the code.

The United Nations has sought to facilitate the impact of the conduct on the police forces of Member States by conducting a number of

training seminars for upper and middle level police management officials at the regional U.N. training and research centers for crime prevention and criminal justice, especially for the Asian and Pacific Region, at Fuchu, Japan, and the Latin-American and Caribbean region, at San Josè, Costa Rica (with some financial support by the U.S. Government). The U.N. Secretariat continues its questionnaire surveys about the extent of implementation among Member-States and reports periodically to the General Assembly.

I should like to add that several other United Nations instruments are now in existence which supplement the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Declaration against Torture, including the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (ESA/SDHA/1), The Procedures for the effective implementation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (E/AC.57/1984/10, as adopted by the ECOSOC), The Draft Code of Medical Ethics (Appendix 3), and other instruments. Above all, there is now in existence a United Nations Voluntary Fund for Vicitms of Torture (A. Res. 36/151, of 1981), which provides, through established channels, numanitarian assistance and legal and financial aid to individuals whose human rights have been severely violated as a result of torture. It would be premature to proclaim that all these international actions have caused the practice of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment on the part of law enforcement officers to become a matter of the past. Indeed, there is no accurate information which would support

any such claim. But, on the basis of the inquiries of the United Nations organs and of international civil rights organizations, it is possible to assert that the marshalling of world public opinion, the universal agreement on the nature of the standards, and continuing international pressure on police forces in violation of the standards, have had some impact. Torture, however, will not be eradicated until all law enforcement officers, indeed all people, will internalize the same revulsion against torture which humans, at one time, began to share about the practice of cannibalism.

This goal cannot be accomplished until, through rigorous, per si stent and universal training of all law enforcement officers, in the values represented by the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Declaration against Torture, such values become a fixed part of the internal equipment of all police. My experience at the international

level convinces me that this effort deserves foremost attention at the international level, through the work of the regional United Nations institutes, especially for the benefit of developing countries. The U.S. Government would be well advised to support that international effort through technical and financial support.

APPENDIX 1

TEXT OF THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF ALL PERSONS FROM TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR Degrading TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT (DECLARATION AGAINST TORTURE')

The United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1975 adopted a declaration condemning torture as "an offence to human dignity". Its adoption represented a milestone in the fight against torture and IIItreatment. Without dissent, the governments of the world had agreed on a set of measures to prevent torture and to take remedial action when torture occurs.

Today disregard for the Declaration is widespread. Governments use or tolerate torture; "confessions" extracted under torture are used to convict prisoners; reports of torture fail to be effectively investigated; acts of torture go unpunished.

The provisions of the Declaration against Torture should be made widely known-to responsible officials, to potential victims and to the concerned public. The governments of the world should be called on to implement the measures which they themselves agreed upon in 1975.

Article 1

1. For the purpose of this Declaration, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted by or at the instigation of a public official on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating him or other persons. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions to the extent consistent with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

2. Torture constitutes an aggravated and deliberate form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 2

Any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the purpose of the Charter of the United Nations and as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 3

No state may permit or tolerate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Exceptional circumstances such as a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a justification of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 4

Each state shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Declaration, take

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

The General Assembly,

Considering that the purposes proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations include the achievement of international co-operation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Recalling, in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1/ and the International Covenants on Human Rights, 2/

Recalling also the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 3452 (XXX) of 9 December 1975,

Mindful that the nature of the functions of law enforcement in the defence of public order and the manner in which these functions are exercised have a direct impact on the quality of life of individuals as well as of society as a whole,

1/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).

2/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

90-06689

Conscious of the important task which law enforcement officials are performing diligently and with dignity, in compliance with the principles of human rights,

Aware, nevertheless, of the potential for abuse which the exercise of such duties entails,

« ÎnapoiContinuați »