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THE CENTRE FOR PROFESSIONAL AID TO VICTIMS OF TORTURE

12.08.2006

The Centre for Professional Aid to Victims of Torture was set up within the framework of the Campaign against torture and ill-treatment (2003-2006) with the financial support of the European Commission.

One of the aims of the Centre is to provide full or partial funding for legal, medical and expert aid for victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, as well as of violations of the right to liberty and security of person.

 

The Centre may be able to give financial assistance for paying a lawyer, doctors or other experts in the following cases:

1.  Torture

  • the use of torture or other forms of ill-treatment in order to extract a confession or other information during a criminal investigation
  • the disappearance of a person with law enforcement or other state bodies likely to be implicated
  • the use of unwarranted violence by state officials during detention, arrest and during the investigation
  • other forms of ill-treatment during detention (remand in custody), administrative detention, being forcibly held in closed institutions (hospitals, penal institutions, disciplinary brigades, guardhouses, centres for illegal immigrants, etc)
  • the initiating of criminal proceedings against employees of law enforcement bodies believed to be implicated in using torture and violence
  • the lodging of civil suits against the direct perpetrators and / or the relevant bodies
  • effective legal representation during legal procedure
  • providing proof

 

When deciding whether a specific case can be accepted, the following are taking into consideration:

  • the seriousness of the consequences, the degree of bodily injuries, the length of time over which the torture or ill-treatment was inflicted
  • the prospects for a positive outcome of the case, whether there is evidence, whether an appeal was made at the right time, whether there are any obstacles to applying national and international procedures (the observance of procedural time limits, rules and procedure, etc)
  • the strategic significance of the case, a combination of several serious violations, the degree to which the violations are widespread, the significance of the case for the other objectives of the Campaign
  • the financial possibilities of the Fund
  • the ability of the victim to contribute towards the costs.

 


2.  Violations of the right to liberty and security of person

  • unlawful detention (criminal – procedural or administrative), unwarranted detention, detention with violations of lawful procedure or for an unlawful motive
  • being held in custody by law enforcement officers with being brought before a court for over 72 hours an excessively long period of remand in custody during a pre-trial investigation and court review
  • violation of the rights of the detained (arrested) person during the court consideration regarding whether to arrest or release the person;

 

Financial aid is provided for:

  • initiating criminal proceedings against employees of law enforcement bodies believed to be implicated in violations of the right to liberty
  • lodging of civil suits against the direct perpetrators and / or the relevant bodies
  • initiating periodic reviews of the lawfulness of continued remand in custody
  • effective legal representation during court consideration regarding whether to arrest or release the person and during other legal procedures
  •  providing proof

 

When deciding whether a specific case can be accepted, the following are taking into consideration:

  • the seriousness of the consequences: the use of torture during remand in custody, the length of time held in the custody of law enforcement agencies, the overall duration of remand in custody
  • the prospects for a positive outcome of the case, whether there is evidence, whether there are circumstances suggesting the lack of need for remand in custody,  whether an appeal was made at the right time;
  • the strategic significance of the case, a combination of several serious violations, the degree to which the violations are widespread, the significance of the case for the other objectives of the Campaign
  • the financial possibilities of the Fund
  • the ability of the victim to contribute towards the costs.

 

 

Types of cases where the Centre does not provide assistance.

The Centre is involved only in cases linked with the actions or inaction of state bodies. It is therefore unable to help in cases involving:

  • conflict between private individuals 
  • conflict not linked with deprivation of liberty or the use of violence by officials 
  • the need for protection against the laying of charges, aside from cases where such protection is an integral part of legal defence against torture (for example where the charge is based on testimony obtained through the use of torture).
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