The international human rights system is traditionally based on state organs implementing the obligations set out in the treaties to which the state is party. Over recent years, however, some new actors, for example, national human rights institutions are starting to appear and be recognised on the international plane that do not fit easily into the state/non-state actor dichotomy. This article explores the innovative contribution of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) to these developments with its requirement that states set up National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs), independent bodies to carry out visits to places of detention, but which will also have some relationship with the international committee established under the Protocol, the Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT). OPCAT sets up a triangular relationship between the state, the SPT and the NPM. Many issues remain undeveloped and many are already looking to the international committee, the SPT, to provide some more guidance to states and NPMs themselves on how these bodies should function and the role they should play. This article examines various models of NPMs, how states decide who to designate, what independence means, what is the role of an NPM and how should their effectiveness be measured, as well as to whom the NPM should be accountable, if anyone, and to whom it should report.
|Translated title of the contribution||National Preventive Mechanisms Under the Optional Protocol to the Torture Convention : One Size Does Not Fit All|
|Pages (from-to)||485 - 516|
|Journal||Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|