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UNGA72 high level panel: Towards effective police interviewing and investigation

Friday, September 29, 2017

On Friday 22 September 2017, during the opening week of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, CTI joined the OHCHR, UN Police Division and the Anti-Torture Initiative for a high-level panel discussion on “Torture During Interrogations: Illegal, Immoral, and Ineffective”.

A high level panel discussed how torture and other ill-treatment can be prevented during interrogations from legal, moral and practical perspectives. The event was an opportunity to share leading examples of non-coercive interviewing techniques and other key safeguards, which are increasingly being applied to positive effect in many countries worldwide. 

Opening the event, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, stated that “torture and ill-treatment of persons suspected of crimes is not only deeply wrong, but from an interrogator's perspective, it is also counterproductive”. H.E. Mr. Anders Samuelsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, reminded participants that “in our fight against torture we need to take an integrated approach; we need to focus on all aspects such as prevention, rehabilitation and access to justice”, while Ms. Lorena Fries, Under-Secretary of Human Rights and Vice-Minister of Justice of Chile, highlighted the importance of the CTI as part of a broad torture prevention effort stressing that “what we are achieving is a better future where human dignity is a reality and where human rights are the nourishment of democracy and the sustainable development of all”.

Professor Juan E. Méndez, former UN Special Rapporteur on torture, addressed participants through video message, encouraging further discussion and promotion of global guidelines on investigative interviewing, while an expert panel explained their own experiences – as practitioners and experts – on the application and effectiveness of investigative interviewing. The panel was composed of Ms. Nina Holm Andersen, lead investigative interviewer of the Norwegian Police in the Anders Behring Breivik case, Mr. Mark Fallon, former US NCIS Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism, Dr. Lilian Stein, from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), and Mr. Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, 

The high level panel was moderated by Mr. Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

See the UN press release here: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57672#.WczQoeTm7-U

Watch the full discussion at: http://webtv.un.org/watch/torture-during-interrogations-illegal-immoral-and-ineffective/5584494563001/

See the full speech of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22134&LangID=E

The programme of the event is available here.

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