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EuropeanConventionHandbookForPolice

Appendix A: CPT

Appendix A: CPT Standards and the police Page 133 d. Women deprived of their liberty Extract from the 10th General Report [CPT/Inf (2000) 13] Preliminary remarks 22. It should be stressed at the outset that the CPT’s concerns about the issues identified in this chapter apply irrespective of the nature of the place of detention. Nevertheless, in the CPT’s experience, risks to the physical and/ or psychological integrity of women deprived of their liberty may be greater during the period immediately following apprehension. Consequently, particular attention should be paid to ensuring that the criteria enunciated in the following sections are respected during that phase. The Committee also wishes to emphasise that any standards which it may be developing in this area should be seen as being complementary to those set out in other international instruments, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. … Separate accommodation for women deprived of their liberty 24. The duty of care which is owed by a State to persons deprived of their liberty includes the duty to protect them from others who may wish to cause them harm. The CPT has occasionally encountered allegations of woman upon woman abuse. However, allegations of ill-treatment of women in custody by men (and, more particularly, of sexual harassment, including verbal abuse with sexual connotations) arise more frequently, in particular when a State fails to provide separate accommodation for women deprived of their liberty with a preponderance of female staff supervising such accommodation. As a matter of principle, women deprived of their liberty should be held in accommodation which is physically separate from that occupied by any men being held at the same establishment. That said, some States have begun to make arrangements for couples (both of whom are deprived of their liberty) to be accommodated together, and/or for some degree of mixed gender association in prisons. The CPT welcomes such progressive arrangements, provided that the prisoners involved agree to participate, and are carefully selected and adequately supervised.

The European Convention on Human Rights and Policing Page 134 e. Electrical discharge weapons Extract from the 20th General Report [CPT/Inf (2010) 28] Preliminary remarks 65. It is becoming increasingly common in countries visited by the CPT for police officers and other law enforcement officials to be issued with electrical discharge weapons (EDW), and the presence of such devices in places of detention (in particular prisons) has also been observed by the Committee in certain countries. There are various types of EDW, ranging from electric shock batons and other hand-held weapons requiring direct contact with the person who is the intended target to weapons capable of delivering dart-like projectiles which administer an electric shock to a person located at some distance. 66. The use of EDW by law enforcement and other public officials is a controversial subject. There are conflicting views as regards both the specific circumstances in which resort to such weapons can be justified and the potential negative effects on health that the weapons can cause. It is also a fact that, by their very nature, EDW lend themselves to misuse. The CPT has on several occasions gathered credible evidence that such weapons have been exploited to inflict severe ill-treatment on persons deprived of their liberty, and the Committee has frequently received allegations that detained persons have been threatened with ill-treatment via the use of EDW. 67. The CPT has already addressed the issue of EDW in several of its visit reports. In the following paragraphs, the Committee wishes to highlight the positions it has adopted to date and indicate some areas of concern. The CPT would welcome comments on this section of its General Report, so as to help the Committee develop its standards in relation to this complex subject. General principles 68. The CPT understands the wish of national authorities to provide their law enforcement officials with means enabling them to give a more graduated response to dangerous situations with which they are confronted. There is no doubt that the possession of less lethal weapons such as EDW may in some cases make it possible to avoid recourse to firearms. However, electrical discharge weapons can cause acute pain and, as already indicated, they are open to abuse. Consequently, any decision to issue law enforcement officials or other public servants with EDW should be the result of a thorough debate