The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced persons for consideration for appointment as the Irish member on the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)


Role of the CPT

The CPT’s full title is the "European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". This highlights two important features: first, it is European in coverage, and second, it not only covers "torture", but also a whole range of situations which could amount to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".  The CPT was set up under the Council of Europe’s "European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment", which came into force in 1989. It builds on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".  The CPT is not an investigative body, but provides a non-judicial preventative mechanism to protect persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. It thus complements the judicial work of the European Court of Human Rights.   

The CPT organises visits to places of detention, in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, social care homes, etc. Members do not visit the State in respect of which they have been elected. CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information. After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, and its recommendations, comments and requests for information. The CPT also requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report. These reports and responses form part of the ongoing dialogue with the States concerned. 

Members of the Committee are chosen from among persons of high moral character who are known for their competence in the field of human rights or having professional experience in the areas covered by the Convention. Suitably qualified persons could have practical experience of the CPT, or other European or international expertise in relevant areas. For example, the CPT’s current membership is comprised of independent and impartial experts drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds including lawyers, medical doctors and specialists in prison or police matters.

While it is not specified, it can be expected that there will be a significant commitment required, possibly in the order of 40 days or more per annum between meetings and country visits.


Nomination process

Selection will be based on an examination of the applications received and a shortlist of the most suitable will be placed before the Minister for consideration. The Minister may, at his discretion, consider and select additional persons from outside this list.

A final three candidates, who have been endorsed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will be placed before the Bureau of the Assembly for consideration by the Committee of Ministers.


Term of Office

The normal term is for 4 years and a member may be re-elected twice. A scheme of remuneration is in place.

Information about the CPT, its work and current membership is available at the following link.

A link to the website of the Department of Justice and Equality is attached here.


How to apply

You should apply by submitting;

(a) a detailed CV in the format attached;  and

(b) a covering letter outlining your significant achievements and experience and relevance of your expertise to the requirements of membership of the CPT.

Both documents at (a) and (b) above must be emailed to


Questions and Inquiries

If there are issues on which you require clarification please email also.


Closing Date:

The closing date for applications is 12 midnight on the 29th August, 2011.



I. Personal details

Surname, first name  
Date of birth   

II. Education and academic and other qualifications

III. Professional activities

(a) Current and Previous positions

(b) Relevant experience at national level

(c) Relevant experience at international level

IV. Language skills

V. Other relevant information

VI. Information about availability to serve the CPT effectively