The United Nations Human Rights Treaties
Rules of Procedure of the Committee Against Torture Concerning Communications
CAT/C/3/Rev.5 (February 2011)
XXI. Procedure for the consideration of communications received under article 22 of the Convention
A. General provisions
Declarations by States parties
Rule 102 (formerly rule 96)
1. The Secretary-General shall transmit to the other States parties copies of the declarations deposited with him by States parties recognizing the competence of the Committee, in accordance with article 22 of the Convention.
2. The withdrawal of a declaration made under article 22 of the Convention shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter which is the subject of a complaint already transmitted under that article; no further complaint by or on behalf of an individual shall be received under that article after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the Secretary-General, unless the State party has made a new declaration.
Transmission of complaints
Rule 103 (formerly rule 97)
1. The Secretary-General shall bring to the attention of the Committee, in accordance with the present rules, complaints which are or appear to be submitted for consideration by the Committee under paragraph 1 of article 22 of the Convention.
2. The Secretary-General, when necessary, may request clarification from the complainant of a complaint as to his/her wish to have his/her complaint submitted to the Committee for consideration under article 22 of the Convention. In case there is still doubt as to the wish of the complainant, the Committee shall be seized of the complaint.
Registration of complaints; Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures
Rule 104 (formerly rule 98)
1. Complaints may be registered by the Secretary-General or by decision of the Committee or by the Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures.
2. No complaint shall be registered by the Secretary-General if:
(a) It concerns a State which has not made the declaration provided for in article 22, paragraph 1, of the Convention; or
(b) It is anonymous; or
(c) It is not submitted in writing by the alleged victim or by close relatives of the alleged victim on his/her behalf or by a representative with appropriate written authorization.
3. The Secretary-General shall prepare lists of the complaints brought to the attention of the Committee in accordance with rule 103 above with a brief summary of their contents, and shall circulate such lists to the members of the Committee at regular intervals. The Secretary-General shall also maintain a permanent register of all such complaints.
4. An original case file shall be kept for each summarized complaint. The full text of any complaint brought to the attention of the Committee shall be made available to any member of the Committee upon his/her request.
Request for clarification or additional information
Rule 105 (formerly rule 99)
1. The Secretary-General or the Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures may request clarification from the complainant concerning the applicability of article 22 of the Convention to his complaint, in particular regarding:
(a) The name, address, age and occupation of the complainant and the verification of his/ her identity;
(b) The name of the State party against which the complaint is directed;
(c) The object of the complaint;
(d) The provision or provisions of the Convention alleged to have been violated;
(e) The facts of the claim;
(f) Steps taken by the complainant to exhaust domestic remedies;
(g) Whether the same matter is being or has been examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.
2. When requesting clarification or information, the Secretary-General shall indicate an appropriate time limit to the complainant of the complaint with a view to avoiding undue delays in the procedure under article 22 of the Convention. Such time limit may be extended in appropriate circumstances.
3. The Committee may approve a questionnaire for the purpose of requesting the above-mentioned information from the complainant.
4. The request for clarification referred to in paragraph 1 (c)-(g) of the present rule shall not preclude the inclusion of the complaint in the list provided for in rule 104, paragraph 3.
5. The Secretary-General shall instruct the complainant on the procedure that will be followed and inform him/her that the text of the complaint shall be transmitted confidentially to the State party concerned in accordance with article 22, paragraph 3, of the Convention.
Summary of the information
Rule 106 (formerly rule 100)
For each registered complaint the Secretary-General shall prepare and circulate to the members of the Committee a summary of the relevant information obtained.
Meetings and Hearings
Rule 107 (formerly rule 101)
1. Meetings of the Committee or its subsidiary bodies during which complaints under article 22 of the Convention will be examined shall be closed.
2. Meetings during which the Committee may consider general issues, such as procedures for the application of article 22 of the Convention, may be public if the Committee so decides.
Issue of communiqués concerning closed meetings
Rule 108 (formerly rule 102)
The Committee may issue communiqués, through the Secretary-General, for the use of the information media and the general public regarding the activities of the Committee under article 22 of the Convention.
Obligatory non-participation of a member in the examination of a complaint
Rule 109 (formerly rule 103)
1. A member shall not take part in the examination of a complaint by the Committee or its subsidiary body:
(a) If he/ she has any personal interest in the case; or
(b) If he/ she has participated in any capacity, other than as a member of the Committee, in the making of any decision; or
(c) If he/ she is a national of the State party concerned or is employed by that country.
2. Any question which may arise under paragraph 1 above shall be decided by the Committee without the participation of the member concerned.
Optional non-participation of a member in the examination of a complaint
Rule 110 (formerly rule 104)
If, for any reason, a member considers that he/she should not take part or continue to take part in the examination of a complaint, he/she shall inform the Chairman of his/her withdrawal.
B. Procedure for determining admissibility of complaints
Method of dealing with complaints
Rule 111 (formerly rule 105)
1. In accordance with the following rules, the Committee shall decide by simple majority as soon as practicable whether or not a complaint is admissible under article 22 of the Convention.
2. The Working Group established under rule 112, paragraph 1, may also declare a complaint admissible by majority vote or inadmissible by unanimity.
3. The Committee, the Working Group established under rule 112, paragraph 1, or the Rapporteur(s) designated under rule 112, paragraph 3, shall, unless they decide otherwise, deal with complaints in the order in which they are received by the secretariat.
4. The Committee may, if it deems it appropriate, decide to consider two or more communications jointly.
5. The Committee may, if it deems appropriate, decide to sever consideration of complaints of multiple complainants. Severed complaints may receive a separate registry number.
Establishment of a working group and designation of special Rapporteurs for specific complaints
Rule 112 (formerly rule 106)
1. The Committee may, in accordance with rule 61, set up a working group to meet shortly before its sessions, or at any other convenient time to be decided by the Committee, in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the purpose of taking decisions on admissibility or inadmissibility and making recommendations to the Committee regarding the merits of complaints, and assisting the Committee in any manner which the Committee may decide.
2. The Working Group shall comprise no less than three and no more than five members of the Committee. The Working Group shall elect its own officers, develop its own working methods, and apply as far as possible the rules of procedure of the Committee to its meetings. The members of the Working Group shall be elected by the Committee every other session.
3. The Working Group may designate Rapporteurs from among its members to deal with specific complaints.
Conditions for admissibility of complaints
Rule 113 (formerly rule 107)
With a view to reaching a decision on the admissibility of a complaint, the Committee, its Working Group or a Rapporteur designated under rules 104 or 112, paragraph 3, shall ascertain:
(a) That the individual claims to be a victim of a violation by the State party concerned of the provisions of the Convention. The complaint should be submitted by the individual himself/herself or by his/her relatives or designated representatives, or by others on behalf of an alleged victim when it appears that the victim is unable personally to submit the complaint, and, when appropriate authorization is submitted to the Committee;
(b) That the complaint is not an abuse of the Committee's process or manifestly unfounded;
(c) That the complaint is not incompatible with the provisions of the Convention;
(d) That the same matter has not been and is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
(e) That the individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies. However, this shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or is unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who is the victim of the violation of this Convention;
(f) That the time elapsed since the exhaustion of domestic remedies is not so unreasonably prolonged as to render consideration of the claims unduly difficult by the Committee or the State party.
Rule 114 (formerly rule 108)
1. At any time after the receipt of a complaint, the Committee, a working group, or the Rapporteur(s) on new complaints and interim measures may transmit to the State party concerned, for its urgent consideration, a request that it take such interim measures as the Committee considers necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the victim or victims of alleged violations.
2. Where the Committee, the Working Group, or Rapporteur(s) request(s) interim measures under this rule, the request shall not imply a determination of the admissibility or the merits of the complaint. The State party shall be so informed upon transmittal.
3. The decision to grant interim measures may be adopted on the basis of information contained in the complainant’s submission. It may be reviewed, at the initiative of the State party, in the light of timely information received from that State party to the effect that the submission is not justified and the complainant does not face any prospect of irreparable harm, together with any subsequent comments from the complainant.
4. Where a request for interim measures is made by the Working Group or Rapporteur(s) under the present rule, the Working Group or Rapporteur(s) should inform the Committee members of the nature of the request and the complaint to which the request relates at the next regular session of the Committee.
5. The Secretary-General shall maintain a list of such requests for interim measures.
6. The Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures shall also monitor compliance with the Committee's requests for interim measures.
7. The State party may inform the Committee that the reasons for the interim measures have lapsed or present arguments why the request for interim measures should be lifted.
8. The Rapporteur, the Committee or the Working Group may withdraw the request for interim measures.
Additional information, clarifications and observations
Rule 115 (formerly rule 109)
1. As soon as possible after the complaint has been registered, it should be transmitted to the State party, requesting it to submit a written reply within six months.
2. The State party concerned shall include in its written reply explanations or statements that shall relate both to the admissibility and the merits of the complaint as well as to any remedy that may have been provided in the matter, unless the Committee, Working Group or Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures has decided, because of the exceptional nature of the case, to request a written reply that relates only to the question of admissibility.
3. A State party that has received a request for a written reply under paragraph 1 both on admissibility and on the merits of the complaint may apply in writing, within two months, for the complaint to be rejected as inadmissible, setting out the grounds for such inadmissibility. The Committee or the Rapporteur on new complaints and interim measures may or may not agree to consider admissibility separately from the merits.
4. Following a separate decision on admissibility, the Committee shall fix the deadline for submissions on a case-by-case basis.
5. The Committee or the Working Group established under rule 112 or Rapporteur(s) designated under rule 112, paragraph 3, may request, through the Secretary-General, the State party concerned or the complainant to submit additional written information, clarifications or observations relevant to the question of admissibility or merits.
6. The Committee or the Working Group or Rapporteur(s) designated under rule 112, paragraph 3, shall indicate a time limit for the submission of additional information or clarification with a view to avoiding undue delay.
7. If the time limit provided is not respected by the State party concerned or the complainant, the Committee or the Working Group may decide to consider the admissibility and/or merits of the complaint in the light of available information.
8. A complaint may not be declared admissible unless the State party concerned has received its text and has been given an opportunity to furnish information or observations as provided in paragraph 1 of this rule.
9. If the State party concerned disputes the contention of the complainant that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, the State party is required to give details of the effective remedies available to the alleged victim in the particular circumstances of the case and in accordance with the provisions of article 22, paragraph 5 (b), of the Convention.
10. Within such time limit as indicated by the Committee or the Working Group or Rapporteur(s) designated under rule 112, paragraph 3, the State party or the complainant may be afforded an opportunity to comment on any submission received from the other party pursuant to a request made under the present rule. Non-receipt of such comments within the established time limit should not generally delay the consideration of the admissibility of the complaint.
Rule 116 (formerly rule 110)
1. Where the Committee or the Working Group decides that a complaint is inadmissible under article 22 of the Convention, or its consideration is suspended or discontinued, the Committee shall as soon as possible transmit its decision, through the Secretary-General, to the complainant and to the State party concerned.
2. If the Committee or the Working Group has declared a complaint inadmissible under article 22, paragraph 5, of the Convention, this decision may be reviewed at a later date by the Committee upon a request from a member of the Committee or a written request by or on behalf of the individual concerned. Such written request shall contain evidence to the effect that the reasons for inadmissibility referred to in article 22, paragraph 5, of the Convention no longer apply.
C. Consideration of the merits
Method of dealing with admissible complaints; oral hearings
Rule 117 (formerly rule 111)
1. When the Committee or the Working Group has decided that a complaint is admissible under article 22 of the Convention, before receiving the State party’s reply on the merits, the Committee shall transmit to the State party, through the Secretary-General, the text of its decision together with any submission received from the author of the communication not already transmitted to the State party under rule 115, paragraph 1. The Committee shall also inform the complainant, through the Secretary-General, of its decision.
2. Within the period established by the Committee, the State party concerned shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the case under consideration and the measures, if any, that may have been taken by it. The Committee may indicate, if it deems it necessary, the type of information it wishes to receive from the State party concerned.
3. Any explanations or statements submitted by a State party pursuant to this rule shall be transmitted, through the Secretary-General, to the complainant who may submit any additional written information or observations within such time limit as the Committee shall decide.
4. The Committee may invite the complainant or his/her representative and representatives of the State party concerned to be present at specified closed meetings of the Committee in order to provide further clarifications or to answer questions on the merits of the complaint. Whenever one party is so invited, the other party shall be informed and invited to attend and make appropriate submissions. The non-appearance of a party will not prejudice the consideration of the case.
5. The Committee may revoke its decision that a complaint is admissible in the light of any explanations or statements thereafter submitted by the State party pursuant to this rule. However, before the Committee considers revoking that decision, the explanations or statements concerned must be transmitted to the complainant so that he/she may submit additional information or observations within a time limit set by the Committee.
Findings of the Committee; decisions on the merits
Rule 118 (formerly rule 112)
1. In those cases in which the parties have submitted information relating both to the questions of admissibility and the merits, or in which a decision on admissibility has already been taken and the parties have submitted information on the merits, the Committee shall consider the complaint in the light of all information made available to it by or on behalf of the complainant and by the State party concerned and shall formulate its findings thereon. Prior thereto, the Committee may refer the communication to the Working Group or to a case Rapporteur designated under rule 112, paragraph 3, to make recommendations to the Committee.
2. The Committee, the Working Group, or the Rapporteur may at any time in the course of the examination obtain any document from United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, or other sources that may assist in the consideration of the complaint.
3. The Committee shall not decide on the merits of a complaint without having considered the applicability of all the admissibility grounds referred to in article 22 of the Convention. The findings of the Committee shall be forwarded, through the Secretary-General, to the complainant and to the State party concerned.
4. The Committee's findings on the merits shall be known as "decisions".
5. The State party concerned shall generally be invited to inform the Committee within a specific time period of the action it has taken in conformity with the Committee’s decisions.
Rule 119 (formerly rule 113)
Any member of the Committee who has participated in a decision may request that his/her individual opinion be appended to the Committee’s decisions.
Rule 120 (formerly rule 114)
1. The Committee may designate one or more Rapporteur(s) for follow-up on decisions adopted under article 22 of the Convention, for the purpose of ascertaining the measures taken by States parties to give effect to the Committee’s findings.
2. The Rapporteur(s) may make such contacts and take such action as appropriate for the due performance of the follow-up mandate and report accordingly to the Committee. The Rapporteur(s) may make such recommendations for further action by the Committee as may be necessary for follow-up.
3. The Rapporteur(s) shall regularly report to the Committee on follow-up activities.
4. The Rapporteur(s), in discharge of his/ her follow-up mandate, may, with the approval of the Committee, engage in necessary visits to the State party concerned.
Summaries in the Committee's annual report and inclusion of texts of final decisions
Rule 121 (formerly rule 115)
1. The Committee may decide to include in its annual report a summary of the complaints examined and, where the Committee considers appropriate, a summary of the explanations and statements of the States parties concerned and of the Committee’s evaluation thereof.
2. The Committee shall include in its annual report the text of its final decisions, including its views under article 22, paragraph 7, of the Convention, as well as the text of any decision declaring a complaint inadmissible under article 22 of the Convention.
3. The Committee shall include information on follow-up activities in its annual report.