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Council of Europe - 2004 - European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - The CPT Standards
Author: calitz
Published: Apr 01, 2004

The CPT is required to draw up every year a General Report on its activities, which is published. In a number of its General Reports the CPT has described some of the substantive issues which it pursues when carrying out visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The Committee hopes in this way to give a clear advance indication to national authorities of its views regarding the manner in which persons deprived of their liberty ought to be treated and, more generally, to stimulate discussion on such matters. The "substantive" sections drawn up to date have been brought together in this document.

State Violence in Morocco: Alternative Report to the United Nations Committee on Torture
Author: Jean
Published: Apr 01, 2004

This report on state violence and torture in the Kingdom of Morocco was presented at the 31st session of the Committee against Torture, which took place in Geneva from 10-21 November 2003 and during which the Moroccan Government’s report was examined. This report was jointly prepared by three Moroccan human rights NGOs: • The Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM), • The Bayti Association, • The Moroccan Prison Observatory (OMP).

Access to Justice for the Poor of Malawi? An appraisal of the access to justice provided to the poor of Malawi by the lower subordinate courts and the customary justice forums
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 23, 2004

This report by Wilfried Schärf, Chikosa Banda, Ricky Röntsch, Desmond Kaunda, and Rosemary Shapiro sought to inform Malawi Law Commission deliberations. "In rural areas the study found that customary justice forums handle some of the criminal cases as well as the vast majority of civil disputes occurring throughout the country. Proceedings are guided by locally-based customary rules. This despite the fact that since 1995 chiefs and traditional authorities have been stripped of their formal adjudicative powers by their exclusion from any formal judicial duties."

CSPRI Newsletter No. 5 - February 2004
Author: hannes
Published: Feb 01, 2004

In this issue: The Prison Report by the Law Society of South Africa, as well as upcoming events, and the SA prisons at a glance.

CSPRI Newsletter No. 3 - December 2003
Author: hannes
Published: Dec 26, 2003

In this issue: A brief overview of South African prisons; The Constitutional Court's decision on the right of prisoners to vote.

Prisoners' Rights Litigation in South Africa Since 1994, a Critical Evaluation (Research Paper No. 3)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

Prisoner's rights litigators face serious challenges when they take on the Department of Correctional Services. There is a lack of respect for the Rule of Law within prison services, which means existing rules are disobeyed, court orders ignored and corruption and misconduct condoned or covered up; representatives of prison services often fear taking responsibility and therefore often fail to act, passing on cases to court in an attempt to "pass the buck"; the leadership in the Department often does not know what is going on in individual prisons; the public and the newspapers have little sympathy for prisoners and there is little publicity for the plight of prisoners and consequently representatives in the prison service feel that they can get away with actions that would otherwise not be tolerated; and conditions of overcrowding in the prisons are often caused by problems in the criminal justice system and must be addressed if one wants to improve the conditions under which prisoners are kept. This means that at present litigation against the Department of Correctional Services seldom brings lasting changes in the conditions of prisoners and/or in the way prison officials and the political leadership in the Department operate. Despite these problems, prisoners' rights litigation could be a powerful weapon deployed to address the lack of respect for the Rule of Law, which lies at the heart of the problems faced by the Department. Other non-legal strategies could be used alongside litigation strategies to place ever more pressure on relevant officials and the political leadership in the Department. Such pressure would then force the prison leadership to act because inaction would become impossible.

Policy Developments in South African Correctional Services 1994 - 2002 (Research Paper no. 1)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

The period 1994 to 2002 in South African Correctional Services history is reviewed in this paper and was prompted by the apparent confusion characterizing correctional policy during this period. During this period substantial policy changes were adopted, such as the privatization of prisons, but with limited debate and oversight. The paper records for historical purposes important trends and mistakes made during this period, but also serve as a clear reminder of the importance of transparent knowledge-based policy development.

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane Treatment (Research Paper No. 2)
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 11, 2003

South African ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in December 1998 and played a significant role in the drafting of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The UN General Assembly adopted the OPCAT in December 2002 and since February 2003 the OPCAT has been open for signature. By October 2005 there have been 48 signatures and 13 ratifications. The Protocol requires 20 ratifications to become binding on UN members. The OPCAT is a powerful international human rights instrument as it provides for national and international visiting mechanisms to all places where people are detained. This includes prisons, police cells, immigration centres, and psychiatric hospitals, amongst others. Regular visits to such facilities have been proven as an effective measure against torture and the ill treatment of people deprived of their liberty. This paper investigate the implication for South Africa should it sign and ratify the OPCAT.

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