Grenada in Focus
In acceding to the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) in September 2019, Hon. Kindra Maturine-Stewart, Grenada’s Minister of Legal Affairs said:
The fundamental principles of the UN Convention against Torture are enshrined in Grenada’s Constitution and in other legislative provisions. As a country, we are committed to the rule of law and the fair and effective administration of justice. Acceding to UNCAT will benefit Grenada in establishing a more professional and effective police and criminal justice system.
She mentioned the decision to accede to UNCAT was consistent with Grenada’s Universal Periodic Review commitments made in 2015, and has been part of a positive process of engagement with the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI), stating:
Grenada has been a beneficiary of CTI’s technical support and quiet diplomatic encouragement, and we look forward to additional discussions with the CTI States as we move to implement the Convention fully.
Strong constitutional and regulatory basis protects citizens against torture and ill-treatment
The Constitution of Grenada enshrines the right to be free from torture and ill-treatment and contains key rights of persons held in police custody and detention. Among other guarantees, the Constitution includes the rights of all persons to be informed of the reasons for their arrest or detention, and the right to be brought before a judge without delay. Additionally, the Police Act limits the period during which persons can be questioned, without a judicial extension, on reasonable suspicion of having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence to a maximum period of 48 hours, effectively protecting persons against unlawful detention. Grenada’s Evidence Act backs up this framework by excluding confessions or admissions obtained by inducement, threat or promise in any criminal proceedings.
Human dignity guides Grenadian police activities
Respect for the dignity of all members of the community is defined as one of the core values and principles of the Royal Grenadian Police Force (RGPF). The Force’s Code of Ethics recognises that protecting persons against oppression and intimidation is amongst the fundamental duties of police officers. Further, police officers vow to not resort to unnecessary force or violence in carrying out their duties.
involving the community in all policing activities is another of the RGPF’s service values. Community-policing initiatives across the country have been put in place in recent years to improve the relationship between the police and the citizens and communities they serve. As part of the programme, police patrol cars in some neighbourhoods act as police substations, allowing citizens to directly report crimes to them.
As acts of domestic and sexual violence can amount to torture and ill-treatment, positive developments in Grenada to tackle this challenge also support UNCAT implementation. As a strategic priority of the Government of Grenada for 2019-2021, a number of measures to combat domestic and sexual violence have been rolled out. Guided by the Domestic Violence Act of 2010 and the National Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Protocol of 2011, the specific roles and responsibilities of the RGPF in tackling domestic and sexual violence have been articulated through the Police Standing Orders (Amendment) 2017, which provide a framework for expeditious investigation and response to complaints of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Notably, the Standing Orders state:
The RGPF will treat every report of domestic violence seriously and confidentially and will respond to calls for intervention in an expeditious manner, regardless of sex, race, sexual identity, religion, social status, the frequency of the reports or the conduct of the victim.
Making the juvenile justice system more child and age-appropriate
Grenada is one of the six CARICOM countries participating in the Juvenile Justice Reform Programme (JJRP), an initiative of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) aiming to strengthen juvenile justice systems across the region. The programme promotes the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of youth in conflict with the law aged 18 years and below. Through the programme, Grenada was the first country in the Caribbean to draft and pass legislation, based on the OECS’ Child Justice Model Bill. The Juvenile Justice Act of 2012, which entered into effect in 2016, is in line with international standards, including the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (also known as the “Beijing Rules”).
Additionally, Grenada’s Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic has introduced a psycho-educational programme called “ALTERNATIVES Programme”, which is now court-mandated and provides for alternative sentencing options for young men who come in conflict with the law, either who have already appeared before courts or who risk committing further offences. The programme is currently undergoing an evaluation.
Encouraging UNCAT ratification in the Caribbean
The Government of Grenada hopes to inspire other Caribbean countries to become party to UNCAT and is willing to share its experiences and pathway with interested countries across the region.
For States interested in how CTI can support efforts to ratify and/or implement UNCAT, please contact email@example.com.
Download the Grenada in Focus in PDF here.