Visit by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture to the North Caucasian region of the Russian Federation

STRASBOURG, 06.03.2000.- A delegation of the COUNCIL OF EUROPE Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has just returned from a one week visit to the Russian Federation, during which it visited a number of places of detention in the North Caucasian region. The delegation focused its attention on the treatment of persons who have been deprived of their liberty because they are suspected of having committed offences in the Chechen Republic.
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

  • Zdenek HÁJEK, a Czech lawyer (Head of the delegation)
  • Ole Vedel RASMUSSEN, a Danish medical doctor
  • Davor STRINOVIC, a Croatian forensic doctor.

They were assisted by Jean-Pierre RESTELLINI, specialist in forensic and internal medicine, Geneva, and Trevor STEVENS, Secretary of the CPT.

The delegation visited the following places of detention (1):

Chechen Republic

  • SIZO No 1, Grozny
  • SIZO No 2, Chernokozovo
  • IVS, Chervlyonnaya Station
  • IVS, Naurskiy District Department of Internal Affairs
  • IVS, Shali District Department of Internal Affairs
  • IVS, Temporary Internal Affairs Department of Grozny Selsky District (Tolstoy Yurt)
  • Former holding facility, Goryacheistochnenskoye (Tolstoy Yurt).

Fighting in Grozny at the time of the delegation's visit prevented it from having access to certain districts of the city.

Republic of North Ossetia

  • SIZO No 1, Vladikavkaz
  • IVS, Mozdok District Department of Internal Affairs.

Stavropol Territory

  • SIZO No 2, Pyatigorsk.

The delegation also went to hospitals in Naurskiy and Tolstoy Yurt and spoke with members of the local population in several of the localities visited, including Grozny.

At the end of its visit, the delegation held consultations with the Russian authorities.

(1) Explanatory note:

A SIZO is a pre-trial establishment under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.

An IVS is a facility for temporary detention under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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In accordance with Article 11 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the information gathered by the CPT during its visit to the Russian Federation and its consultations with the Russian authorities are confidential.

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The CPT was set up under the 1987 European Convention for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 40 of the 41 member States of the Council of Europe are bound by the Convention: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The remaining State - Georgia - signed the Convention on 16 February 2000.

The CPT is composed of persons from a variety of backgrounds: lawyers, medical doctors, prison experts, persons with parliamentary experience, etc. The Committee's task is to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. For this purpose, it is entitled to visit any place where such persons are held by a public authority. The Committee may formulate recommendations to strengthen, if necessary, their protection against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Further information may be obtained from:

- the CPT's Internet Site:

- the Council of Europe Press Department:

Dmitri MARCHENKOV, tel. +33/(0);

Cathie BURTON, tel. +33/(0);

Fax: +33/(0); e-mail

- the CPT's Secretariat:

tel. +33/(0); fax: +33/(0); e-mail