Ending the trade in instruments of torture

“A frightening arsenal of instruments of torture are still being manufactured, sold and marketed in a number of Council of Europe member States,” Vusal Huseynov (Azerbaijan, EPP/CD) told the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights today in Paris.

“Thumbcuffs, spiked batons and spiked shields, weighted restraints and wall anchors, body-worn electric shock devices, cage beds, stun guns, certain chemical irritants, etc. The trade in goods used to inflict the death penalty and torture can contribute to the incidence of capital punishment and torture by providing those responsible with the means to act,” he continued, in presenting his report which calls for a strengthening of international regulations of the trade in these instruments.

“The Parliamentary Assembly cannot accept that companies or other individuals or entities in Council of Europe member states are involved in the trade in goods used for the death penalty, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” he said.

“As a global pioneer in the abolition of the death penalty and enforcement of the prohibition on torture, I consider that the Council of Europe should play a leading role in this field, both politically and technically. This could be done by supporting the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade, co-operating with the EU on its implementation in Council of Europe member states and providing technical assistance to those member states that seek it. Ideally, such technical assistance would be based on a Committee of Ministers' recommendation to member states setting out guidance on how to establish and implement an effective regulatory regime, in effect extending the scope of the approach taken by Regulation 1236/2005, through harmonised national systems in non-EU member states.”

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights concurred with the rapporteur and unanimously adopted a draft recommendation to this effect, which will be debated at the winter plenary session in Strasbourg (22-26 January 2018).