Statement by the International Federation of ACATs (FIACAT)

Item 3 - Interactive dialogue with the working group on arbitrary detention

42nd session of the Human Rights Council - 13 September 2019

Thank you, Mr. President,

Members of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,

FIACAT thanks you for your report and particularly appreciates the attention paid to the use of detention registers in the context of the fight against arbitrary detentions.

As part of its programme to combat abusive pre-trial detention in Côte d'Ivoire, the Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, FIACAT has noted the importance of these registers and the need to keep them up to date and complete in order to prevent and combat cases of abusive preventive detention.

However, these registers are often not up to date at the level of prisons and prosecutors' offices. Thus, detainees are sometimes held in detention even though a court decision acquitting them has been issued. Poor communication and lack of collaboration between the prison administration and the judiciary does not allow for up-to-date detention records. Indeed, the control of places of deprivation of liberty by local civil society revealed several irregularities in the keeping of these registers, in particular the absence of certain elements of the judicial file such as decisions to renew the detention warrant. 

FIACAT has noted that the lack of human and material resources available to the prison administration contributes to the poor keeping of these registers. Indeed, very often these registers are not computerized and therefore run the risk of being damaged or even lost. Detainees may then be forgotten and kept in detention beyond the legal time limits and outside any legal framework.

FIACAT therefore supports your recommendations to States to set up such registers in all places of deprivation of liberty and to ensure that they are duly completed with the detainee's personal information and the details of his updated judicial file. It also calls on States to ensure the proper preservation of these registers and to strengthen cooperation between the judicial and prison administrations. In this respect, it is essential that the judicial administration carries out its missions of control of places of deprivation of liberty and, on this occasion, pays particular attention to the keeping of prison registers.

Thank you for your attention.