Training Vietnamese officials on UN Convention against Torture
19 Dec 2016 - 13:01
Source: Clingendael Academy

In Vietnam, trainers from Clingendael Academy and the Netherlands Police Academy gave a 2-day workshop on implementing the United Nations Convention Against Torture and conducting professional investigative interviews for the Vietnamese Police and other government officials.

Fourth training programme on UNCAT implementation

For the fourth time, Clingendael Academy provided a training programme to the Vietnamese government on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). Building on three previous editions, this 2-day training programme conducted in Hanoi focused on the practical implementation of the Convention for law enforcement personnel. Trainers from Clingendael Academy and the Netherlands Police Academy reviewed the training obligations for law enforcement officials under the UNCAT, and explained how the Dutch police force are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to conduct professional investigate interviews.

Obligations under UNCAT

The UNCAT aims to completely eradicate torture in State Parties, and outlines a wide variety of obligations in terms of prohibition by law, redress for victims, punishment for perpetrators, but also preventive measures. Two of these measures are the training obligations (art. 10) for all personnel involved with persons deprived of their liberty, and the continuous reviewing of interrogation procedures (art. 11). The requirements of these obligations and the steps to be taken were thoroughly discussed during the previous training in Hanoi and the Netherlands. As giving practical trainings to these target groups is one of the most effective safeguards in preventing the occurrence of torture, this training module focused exactly on transferring these skills.

Safeguards against Torture

During the two days, the contents and legal obligations following from the ratification of UNCAT were outlined by Training & Research Fellow Mr. Adriaan Zondag and subsequently discussed. Stressing the importance of installing practical safeguards against the occurrence of torture, he furthermore outlined the most effective methods to do. As research shows, the practical training of law enforcement official’s interrogation skills, having them to rely less on confessions in criminal prosecution, and making use of audio-visual recordings during interrogations are effective safeguards for governments to install.

Investigative Interviewing at the Netherlands Police Academy

After this first session, Mr. Eduard Coblijn and Mr. Jos Hoekendijk, two investigative interviewing trainers from the Netherlands Police Academy, introduced the participants to the Dutch training method of conducting police interviews with suspects, victims and witnesses. They stressed the importance of finding the truth as opposed to reaching a confession, and explained the tactics and methods that they use in their daily work. Participants learned how to plan an interview, use the techniques of person-oriented and case-oriented interviewing, and how to deal with difficult or vulnerable suspects. The trainers furthermore explained how the Netherlands introduced the use of audiovisual recordings in interviews and what the benefits of using such technology are.

Visit to Ninh Khanh Prison

After the end of the two-day course, the Ministry of Public Security organised a field trip to the Ninh Khanh prison in the province of Ninh Binh. Staff from the Netherlands Embassy and the Clingendael trainers were provided with the opportunity to see the cellblocks and discuss UNCAT implementation with the director of the prison.

Participants from various backgrounds

36 participants from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Police Academy, Ministry of Justice, Law School, Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Institution participated in this two-day course in Hanoi. The training module was opened by Her Excellency Ms. Nienke Trooster, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Vietnam, Lt. General Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Director of the Legal department of MPS, and Mr. Adriaan Zondag, Training and Research Fellow at Clingendael Academy.

Cooperation Clingendael and Vietnam

This training module in Hanoi is part of a three-year cooperation between Clingendael Academy and the Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam, funded by the Netherlands Embassy to Vietnam. In 2017, two more trainings are scheduled to take place. If you want to know more about this training programme, please contact Mr. Adriaan Zondag, Training & Research Fellow at Clingendael Academy.