Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights National Preventive Mechanism
Inspecting the places of detention as a means of preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
The UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment became part of the domestic legal system as a result of the adoption of Legislative Decree 3 of 1988.
The Parliament adopted Act CXLIII of 2011 on the Promulgation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention (hereinafter referred to as the "Protocol"), aimed at the practical implementation of the ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on October 24, 2011. The Protocol established a system within which independent international and national bodies may regularly inspect those places where people deprived of their liberty stay.
The system is built on the Subcommittee on Prevention, comprising 25 independent experts and operating under the auspices of the UN, and on the National Preventive Mechanism operated by the State Parties.
The Committee on Prevention, just as the National Prevention Mechanism, may inspect on‑the‑spot the detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting which that person is not permitted to leave at will by order of any judicial, administrative or other authority. The competences of the Subcommittee on Prevention and the National Preventive Mechanism are identical.
As of January 1, 2015, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights shall proceed as National Preventive Mechanism either personally or with the cooperation of his colleagues. The tasks related to the National Preventive Mechanism shall be performed by at least eleven staff members of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, all with an outstanding knowledge in the field of the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty or having at least five years of professional experience. Among the authorized public servant staff members, the number of the representatives of either sex may exceed that of the other by one at the most. Among them there shall be at least one person who has been proposed by the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights responsible for the protection of the rights of nationalities living in Hungary and at least two persons each with a degree in law, medicine and psychology respectively.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights shall also be entitled to authorize, either provisionally or temporarily, outside experts to cooperate in the implementation of his tasks.
During the inspections the Commissioner or his authorized colleagues may inspect without any restriction all documents concerning detention, and make copies thereof. All classified information shall be treated confidentially. It is provided by the law that no personal data shall be published without the express consent of the person concerned, and no one having communicated any information to the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights or his colleagues acting as National Prevention Mechanism shall be prejudiced in any way.
The National Preventive Mechanism shall prepare reports on his inspections, specifying their findings and the conclusions based thereon. In addition to his colleagues, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights may involve other experts in the preparation of the report.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights may initiate effective measures aimed at terminating and preventing from recurring treatments, identified in the course of his inspections, that disregard the ban on torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, in accordance with the relevant regulations, shall publish his annual reports and the reports on the inspections conducted by the National Preventive Mechanism, as well as any and all information ensuring the transparency of the protection of fundamental rights, on the website of his Office.
The staff members of the National Preventive Mechanism are ready to share their knowledge and experiences in the frameworks of university lectures, professional consultations and workshops. Such requests and invitations should be sent, indicating venue, time and subject, to the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Preventive Mechanism shall maintain contacts with the media through the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights.