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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Switzerland

Strasbourg, 26.10.2011 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a periodic visit to Switzerland from 10 to 20 October 2011. It was the Committee's sixth visit to this country.

The CPT’s delegation reviewed the steps taken by the Swiss authorities following the recommendations made by the Committee after previous visits. In particular, the delegation re-examined the implementation of fundamental safeguards against police ill-treatment following the entry into force of the unified Code of Criminal Procedure. In the area of prisons, particular attention was paid to the situation of inmates suffering from psychiatric disorders and persons subject to preventive detention (“Verwahrung”) or to institutional therapeutic measures (“stationäre therapeutische Massnahmen”). In this context, the delegation also visited a forensic psychiatric clinic.

In the course of the visit, the delegation met Simonetta Sommaruga, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Michael Leupold, Director of the Federal Office of Justice, as well as other senior officials from various Federal Departments. It also met Martin Graf, Cantonal Councillor, Head of the Directorate of Justice and the Interior of the Canton of Zurich and other senior officials of the cantons visited, as well as representatives of the Conference of Directors of the Cantonal Justice and Police Departments.

Further, the delegation held consultations with representatives of the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture established as national preventive mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Discussions were also held with members of non-governmental organisations active in areas of interest to the CPT.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Swiss authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

-     Marc NÈVE (Belgian), Head of delegation
-     Dan DERMENGIU (Romanian)
-     Wolfgang HEINZ (German)
-     Julia KOZMA (Austrian)
-     Anna ŠABATOVÁ (Czech).

They were supported by Johan FRIESTEDT, Stephanie MEGIES and Almut SCHRÖDER of the CPT’s Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Daniel GLEZER, psychiatrist, former Head of the Regional Medical Psychological Department at "Les Baumettes" Prison, Marseilles (France) and Veronica PIMENOFF, psychiatrist, Head of Department at the Helsinki University Psychiatric Hospital (Finland).

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Canton of Bern

    -     Cantonal Police Station at Bern central railway station
    -     Prison Hospital Unit at Bern “Insel” Hospital

Republic and Canton of Geneva

    -     Police Headquarters, boulevard Carl-Vogt 17-19, Geneva
    -     Pâquis Police Station, rue de Berne 6, Geneva

    -     Observation, Detention and Educational Centre "La Clairière" for minors, Vernier

    -     Champ-Dollon Prison, Puplinge/Thônex

    -     Prison Hospital Unit of the Cantonal Hospital, Geneva
    -     Prison Psychiatric Unit of Belle-Idée Psychiatric Hospital, Chêne-Bourg

    The delegation also went to "Le Salève" Unit for juveniles at Belle-Idée Hospital in order to discuss issues related to psychiatric care provided to juveniles from " La Clairière " Centre.

Canton of Thurgovia

    -     Cantonal Prison, Frauenfeld

Canton of Vaud

    -     Bochuz Prison (Plaine de l'Orbe establishments)

Canton of Zug

    -     Bostadel Inter-Cantonal Prison (Cantons of Zug and Basel-City)

Canton of Zurich

    -     Cantonal Police Prison, Kasernenstrasse 49, Zurich
    -     Cantonal Police Station at Zurich central railway station
    -     Municipal Police Station " Regionalwache Industrie ", Fabrikstrasse 1, Zurich

    -     Pöschwies Prison, Regensdorf
    -     Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Rheinau.

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