Estonia: Enhancing the capacity of National Preventive Mechanisms

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Date: 1-2 April 2008

Place: Geneva, Switzerland

Partners: Office of the Chancellor of Justice, Estonia

Purpose: To enhance the capacity of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (Oigustkantsler) to undertake preventive visits as Estonia's National Preventive Mechanism.

Activities: Estonia ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in December 2006. In February 2007, the Estonian authorities subsequently designated the Office of the Chancellor of Justice as its NPM. In 2007 the institution approached the APT for assistance in the implementation of this new mandate as envisaged by the OPCAT, taking into account the existing monitoring experience. 

On 1 and 2 April 2008, the APT welcomed four representatives from the Office of the Chancellor of Justice to Geneva (2 persons from the 2 departments carrying out visits to places of detention). During this two day meeting all aspects of the work of an NPM were discussed in an informal and constructive manner, using as a basis the already extensive visiting experience of the Office of the Chancellor. Topics covered included the mandate, structure and establishment of a monitoring programme, conduct of the visit and in particular interviews in private, and finally visit reports and annual reports. 

On the basis of this exchange, the APT will send some comments to the Chancellor of Justice and will also carryout a follow-up visit to Estonia in the autumn.   

It is foreseen that, as a result of these discussions, some practices and monitoring methodology will be adapted in order to better comply with the broad approach of the OPCAT. 

Contact Person: Barbara Bernath, APT Detention Monitoring Programme Officer