Monitoring and Documentation Torture in Prisons

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DEALING WITH TORTURE /Monitoring and Documentation…

This component explains how human rights fact-finding and documentation can support sustainable development, reforms and policy change.

• Human rights monitoring is at the heart of ARCT human rights work, helping uncover human rights violations and their causes. Human rights monitoring also has the potential to empower marginalized groups by providing a way to name their experiences as human rights violations and to identify solutions. Monitoring provided concrete, step-by-step examples for how human rights situation is being used to analyze sustainable developments in places of detention, based on ARCT’ experiences with an ongoing fact-finding projects. Intended for service providers, litigation lawyers, policy advocates, and grant makers who want to learn how human rights monitoring can be part of their organizing or policy work, the outcome of Monitoring helped various stakeholders understand how to better address the identified priorities as part of larger strategies.

What striking in case of human rights violations in places of detention?

  • Pressure to resolve criminal cases on conviction rates and/or cases
  • The non-existence of or failure to implement, legislative fair-trial safeguards, such as access to lawyers and doctors, limits on pre-trial detention periods and related guarantees
  • The absence of interrogation procedures that tend to safeguard against torture
  • The failure to investigate allegations of torture promptly and impartially
  • The failure of judiciary to punish adequately – or at all – those guilty of the criminal offence of torture
  • Immunity for certain officials from prosecution and courts for torture.
  • A lack of training and/or access to evidence-collection techniques, resulting in an excessive reliance on confessions as the main source of evidence

In full compliance with the Article 1 of UNCAT, the Article 3 of the ECHR, the ECPT, the article 86, 87 of the Criminal Code, the Law on Treatment of the detainees and institutionalized MoUs with People’s Advocate (2 January 2012); Albanian State Police (23 January 2012), General Prison Directorate (renewed on 20 March 2012), ARCT has exhausted the calendar for the monitoring visits throughout 2012.


Through more than 120 monitoring visits (periodic, ad-hoc and few joint missions with the Albanian NPM) the ARCT has finalized mapping issues of concerns, violations, improvements etc for each penitentiary institution, and police commissariats in Tirana, Durres, Korca, Pogradec, Elbasan, Fier, Vlora, Shkodra, Lezha etj produced internal reports and recommendations after each visitl information and photos are accessible in the ARCT webpage.

The monitoring team is comprised of lawyers, psychologists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, and journalists. Volunteers from the Law University, social sciences faculty, and international interns periodically participate in ARCT monitoring visits. Each visit has a number of elements applied in a standard way, as well as other ones implemented differently from institution to institution, where basic elements rely on material conditions, education, hygiene, violence, health care, discrimination and corruption.

A special attention was paid in drafting the Standard Operating Procedures in performing the monitoring visits. The SOP includes best practices for access to places of detention, planning and implementation of the visits, procedures for interviews with staff and detainees, qualitative and quantitative documentation of the findings, the report writing, report submission and follow-up of recommendations, methodology of approaching the prison, authorizations, etc.

As part of a national Human Rights Screening Instrument are more than 240 questionnaires and 50 interviews, used on case identification in police commissariats, pre-detention and prisons. Particular attention is given to those who have sent complaints of ill-treatment and/or called to the ARCT. Through such dynamic process the ARCT has opened more than 15 court cases of violence requiring damages for its clients/inmates, and won more than 6 of them: excessive use of power, extradition, amnesty, review of forced medication process, access to medical care, etc.

The case management system has been updated and actually throughout the project period around 1340 questionnaires and around 270 interviews are documented.

ARCT has provided rehabilitative services with focus on social and legal assistance to around 63 torture victims and their family members, to document the methods and consequences of torture in the past and present, to sustain and produce expertise and documentation to be used in training activities and to produce data to be used in ARCT documentation and advocacy work.

 The 2012 ARCT Alternative Report on human rights situation in Albania is a follow-up to the ARCT alternative report submitted to the CAT during its session on Albania in 2005, and 2012. This document finalized within December 2012 has updated information on the legal framework on human rights, penitentiary reforms, independent monitoring complaint mechanisms, and findings moderated so as to draw recommendations for state authorities, civil society actors, professionals, the developments in the situation of human rights in Albania, and the political tense situation in the country.