States must ensure that victims of torture can get redress. Victims must also have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full a rehabilitation as possible. This is a requirement under international law.
Redress entails restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, reparation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
- Restitution means to re-establish the victim in his or her situation before the abuse was committed.
- Compensation means to recompense for economically assessable damage resulting from the abuse.
- Rehabilitation means to restore and repair the harm suffered by the victim. This should acknowledge that the pervasive effect of torture means the victim’s life – including their dignity, health and self-sufficiency – might never fully recover.
- Reparation must be adequate, effective and comprehensive. The specific circumstances of each case must be taken into consideration and redress tailored to the particular needs of the victim.
- Satisfaction includes the verification of the facts, judicial and administrative sanctions against the perpetrators of the abuse, and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. This may include a public apology to the victim.
- Guarantees of non-repetition are measures to counter impunity of perpetrators and recurrence of abuse. Depending on the context, such measures range from external oversight and monitoring mechanisms, to the establishment of judicial remedies, the strengthening of the judiciary’s independence, and adequate training for law enforcement officials.
The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) has clarified in detail what redress entails, in its General Comment No. 3 on the implementation of Article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture. The General Comment provides comprehensive guidance to states and is the first authoritative direction of such a comprehensive and detailed nature by a UN body.
We have two training manuals to help organisations deliver training on holistic rehabilitation for torture victims. These were developed by PRI and Freedom from Torture as part of a three-year project (2010-2013) funded by the European Union to counter torture in places of detention in nine former Soviet Union countries.