CTI partners with Sidley law firm to bolster anti-torture legal advice to States

CTI is pleased to announce a new partnership with Sidley Austin LLP’s pro bono legal services. The global law firm will contribute to CTI’s growing practice of undertaking comprehensive research and providing confidential and tailor-made advice on anti-torture legal and regulatory frameworks, as States take action to ratify and/or implement the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT, or Convention).

Stockholm Public Library stacks by Climadeo, Wikimedia
Stockholm Public Library stacks by Climadeo, Wikimedia

The UN Convention against Torture stipulates a number of areas where a legislative basis is foundational. It notably requires State parties to criminalise torture as a specific offence, as well as legislate to exclude evidence obtained by means of torture or ill-treatment in any proceedings, to protect persons from being returned or extradited to any place where they may be at risk of torture, and to adopt provisions recognising the right to complain, to a prompt and impartial investigation and to redress for violations.

In preparing for ratifying, implementing and reporting under the Convention, governments regularly examine their existing legal and regulatory frameworks and assess whether any amendments or broader reforms are needed. To help inform these important review processes, CTI has been developing confidential country-specific “anti-torture legislation country notes”, which cover laws relating to criminal law and evidence, extradition and immigration laws, as well as laws regulating police, security, military or prison sector conduct. Sidley’s lawyers will strengthen CTI’s capacity to provide governments with this type of tailor-made technical and legal advice.

The UN Convention against Torture is a key vehicle and framework to help guide States towards good governance, professional and rights-respecting law enforcement, and fair and efficient criminal justice systems. Such systems need to be undergirded by a strong legislative foundation,” stated Dr. Alice Edwards, Head of the CTI Secretariat. “The legal support of Sidley’s pro bono team will advance our goals of achieving the universal ratification and implementation of the Convention and the advice we provide to States. We look forward to fruitful cooperation with Sidley’s lawyers and staff on this exciting project,” she added.

Colette van der Ven, Director of Sidley’s Trade for Development Pro Bono program states to be

very pleased with this new partnership between CTI and Sidley. Issues related to good governance and the rule of law are critical to any country’s development, and we are very pleased to be able to make a contribution to the important work done by CTI in developing countries all over the world.

The outputs resulting from the support by Sidley’s Trade for Development Pro Bono Initiative will contribute to enlarging the resources for States available from CTI’s growing Advice Hub, a comprehensive support platform for State authorities, national institutions and practitioners seeking information on the ratification and implementation of UNCAT.

About the Convention against Torture Initiative

CTI is an inter-governmental initiative, promoting the universal ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT). The Initiative is being spearheaded by the Governments of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, and is supported by a full-time Secretariat based in Geneva. Through constructive dialogue and international cooperation between States, CTI offers technical and capacity building support to governments. We are encouraged by a Group of Friends, which is open to all UN Member States and serves as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas on how to overcome obstacles to ratification and implementation of the UNCAT.

CTI’s Advice Hub can be contacted confidentially for technical advice at advicehub@cti2024.org.

For any other queries, feel free to contact the CTI Secretariat at info@cti2024.org.

About Sidley Austin LLP’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program

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