The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was opened to all States for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984. Part I of the Convention defines and prohibits torture, establishes a system of universal jurisdiction against it, and specifies the responsibilities of States under the Convention for preventing and prosecuting torture in their territories. Part II establishes an international implementation system based on a Committee against Torture with the authority to review mandatory periodic reports by States parties on their implementation of the Convention. Optional provisions also permit parties to authorize the Committee to receive and investigate communications (complaints) from States or from individuals alleging violations of the Convention, as well as any reliable information it should receive indicating the systematic practice of torture in the territory of any State party.
* Research on this article was partially supported by a grant from the University Research Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
** Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina, USA.