Switzerland - OPCAT Situation
New Specialised Institution
National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (Commission nationale pour la prévention de la torture)
OPCAT Implementation and Ratification Law (20 March 2009), only available in French
Even though Switzerland signed the OPCAT in 2004, the ratification and implementation law was adopted by the Parliament five years later, following consultations with local entities on the structure of the future NPM.
Switzerland decided to establish a new body, through the means of legislation: the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture. The following arguments were decisive in that decision:
- Existence of cantonal support
- Greater efficiency
- Reduced costs
- Attainment of uniform standards/law, and
- Speedier procedure towards ratification.
It is composed of 12 members, who are not working full-time, and is assisted by a Secretariat.
The SPT member who is the SPT Focal Point for Switzerland is available here.
Article 6 of the OPCAT legislation states that members of the Commission are nominated by the Federal Council, upon recommendation of the Federal Officeof Justice and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Following its visit to Switzerland in 2007, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) recommended that the selection process of the members should be transparent, including a public call for candidates .As a result, in June 2009 the Federal Department of Justice launched a public tender to select the 12 members of the future National Commission for thePrevention of Torture. The 12 members were nominated by the Federal Council on 21 October 2009.
Following the designation of the 12 members, a Chairperson was nominated by the Swiss Government. It is worth mentioning that the current NPM Chairperson is also the CPT member for Switzerland. The NPM’s Board comprises the Chairperson as well as two Vice-Chairpersons.
The official languages of the Commission are French and German.
Members of the Commission meet approximately five times per year, in the context of a plenary assembly. The Commission’s board intends to meet once per month with its Secretariat.
Annual reports are available on the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture's website.
Other reports, such as priority reports and visit reports, are available on the NPM's website.