Abolishing torture through training
11 Apr 2017 - 10:44
Bron: Clingendael Academy

For the fifth time, Clingendael Academy provided a training for civil servants from Vietnam on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). From 3 until 7 April, representatives from the Vietnamese Ministries of Public Security, Defense and Foreign Affairs discussed the implementation of this anti-torture treaty and how to approach the practical implementation at the local and regional level.

Reform through Training & Education

UNCAT article 10 obligates States Parties to educate and train all security staff who are in contact with people deprived of their liberties, such as police officials, prison guards, investigators, and medical personnel. This obligation is the specific focus in the 3-year cooperation between Clingendael Academy and the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, in order to help Vietnam in eradicating the practice of torture through training.

Designing training curricula for Law Enforcement and Prison staff

This week focused on training intervention and developing curricula for prison staff, police officers and criminal investigators in Vietnam. During the five days, participants discussed required contents of the curricula, training methodologies and how to logistically organise training sessions for about 30.000 officers in the field across the country.

The result of the training: a two-day training curriculum for Vietnamese security staff, which will be tested through a first Training of Trainers module in Hanoi in September 2017. By recruiting and training a pool of trainers at the central level who can later on conduct trainings themselves, a broader audience of trainees can be reached at the provincial and commune levels.

UNCAT implementation & torture prevention in The Netherlands

Throughout the week, senior professionals working in the Netherlands on security and law enforcement illustrated the experiences of the Netherlands in dealing with the obligation under this Convention and European law regimes. and how its system of checks and balances works to minimize the risk of mistreatment and other prohibited offences by civil servants:

  • The Director General of Police of the Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice explained how the Netherlands Police force is organised and how changes in law are implemented by the National Police
  • An investigator of the Team International Crimes of the Netherlands Police explained how his team conducts research into possible cases of war crimes through victim and witness interviews and the use of online sources
  • A Prosecutor for International Crimes of the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service elaborated on prosecution for international crimes such as torture in Dutch courts
  • Directors of the Prison in Utrecht discussed how the Dutch prison system is organised, what its values are, and how they aim to achieve re-socialization of the prisoners
  • The Head of Operations of the Bureau of Investigation (“Rijksrecherche”) outlined how his organization investigates government wrongdoing and the procedures when police violence has occurred
  • An SSR officer from ISSAT DCAF explained how Security Sectors can be reformed, accountability measures can be installed, and highlighted the importance of training & education

Cooperation between Clingendael Academy and the Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam

This training program commenced in 2015 after Vietnam ratified the UNCAT. With funds made available through the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Clingendael has organised five training programs throughout the past three years, with three modules taking place in the Netherlands and two follow-up modules in Hanoi. The Vietnamese delegation is headed by Lt. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Director General for the Legal department of the Ministry of Public Security. During the closing ceremony on Friday, participants were congratulated on their efforts by H.E. Ngô Thi Hòa, Ambassador of Vietnam to the Netherlands, and Mr. Arjen van den Berg, Deputy Director for Asia & Oceania of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More information

The next training activity is scheduled for September 2017 and will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam. If you would like to know more about this training program, please do not hesitate to contact the course coordinators.