Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture
181. The Committee considered the third periodic report of the Netherlands (CAT/C/44/Add.4 and 8) at its 426th, 429th and 433rd meetings on 11, 12 and 16 May 2000 (CAT/C/SR.426, 429 and 433), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
182. The Committee notes with satisfaction the third periodic report of the Netherlands (European part of the Kingdom, Antilles and Aruba), which conforms to the general guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports as to content and form.
183. The Committee thanks the three Governments concerned for their comprehensive reports as well as for the oral reports and clarifications made by the delegations, which displayed a spirit of openness and cooperation.
184. The Committee welcomes the three accompanying core documents which, although not submitted within the prescribed time, facilitated the examination of the reports.
185. The Committee regrets that no Aruba delegation could be present during the examination of the reports. However, the Committee appreciates the written information and answers provided by Aruba to the Committee.
2. Positive aspects
186. The Committee particularly notes with satisfaction the following:
(a) That it has received no information about allegations of torture in the State party;
(b) As of early 1999, a special National War Criminals Investigation Team has been set up and made operational in the Netherlands (European part), to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of war crimes, which can include torture as specified in the Convention;
(c) The State party's contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture;
(d) Clarifications by the representative of the State party with regard to the non-prosecution of General Pinochet when he was on the territory of the Netherlands. While regretting the lack of prosecution, on the grounds of non-feasibility, the Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party representative has affirmed that immunity from prosecution does not at present hold under international human rights law;
(e) The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba have both recently made the act of torture punishable in criminal legislation, as a separate criminal offence, and have also established the principle of universal jurisdiction;
(f) The Netherlands Antilles has established a National Investigation Department to investigate allegations of breach of authority by public servants and a public Complaints Committee on police brutality. In addition, several short and medium-term measures have been taken to ameliorate conditions in prisons;
(g) The assurances that, despite privatization of prisons in the Netherlands Antilles, the State's obligations under the Convention continue to apply;
(h) Measures taken in the Netherlands Antilles to ensure that officials visit the prisons once a week.
3. Subjects of concern
187. The Committee expresses its concern about:
(a) Allegations of police actions in the Netherlands (European part), involving illegitimate body searches, inadequate deployment of female officers, and some excessive use of force by the police in connection with crowd control;
(b) Allegations of inter-prisoner violence, including sexual assault in Koraal Specht prison in the Netherlands Antilles;
(c) The daily use of a riot squad as a means of prisoner control in Koraal Specht prison in the Netherlands Antilles;
(d) Some allegations of police brutality in Aruba and the absence of information, including statistics, regarding the prison population.
188. The Committee recommends that:
(a) Measures be taken in the Netherlands (European part) to fully incorporate the Convention in domestic law, including adopting the definition of torture contained in article 1 of the Convention;
(b) Despite improvement already made in the Netherlands Antilles, effective measures should continue to be taken to bring to an end the deplorable conditions of detention at Koraal Specht prison;
(c) The practice of controlling prison discipline by the use, on a virtually daily basis, of riot squads, in the Netherlands Antilles should be reviewed and, in particular, efforts should be made to develop alternative means to prevent inter-prisoner violence. Such means should include the proper training of prison personnel;
(d) Relevant statistics should be provided to the Committee, disaggregated by gender and geography.