Central Asia: Training on compensation of moral harm suffered through torture

Photo by mconnors
Photo by mconnors

Almaty, Brussels, Dushanbe, Warsaw, 04 February 2016 – Thirty-three NGO activists, lawyers and psychologists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participate in the training “Compensation of moral harm suffered through torture”, organized by the NGO Coalitions against Torture in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, which takes place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 3 to 5 February 2016. Dmitry Kazakov, Sergey Romanov (both from the NGO Committee against Torture in Nizhni Novgorod, Russian Federation), Elena Volochay (psychologist and human rights defender, Kiev, Ukraine) and Kyuri Idrisov (Professor of Psychology and Neurology at the Chechen State University in Grozny, Chechnya, Russian Federation), who have extensive experience on cases involving the compensation of moral damages sustained through torture from a legal, psychological and medical perspective, are conducting the training.

International human rights law obliges states to provide reparation to victims of torture and other ill-treatment, including to compensate them for moral damages. The coalitions against torture in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have supported victims of torture to obtain justice and to file suits for compensation. However, in those cases where civil courts have awarded compensation for moral damages, the amounts granted have been neither fair nor adequate.

The training seminar discusses all aspects of compensation for torture including the selection of cases, the preparation of law suits, approaches to evaluate the moral harm suffered and the legal representation in court. It provides a platform to share experiences the participants have made with compensation cases in recent years and to discuss what approaches that have proved successful in other countries of the former Soviet space could be applied in the participants’ countries of origin. As follow-up to the training the NGO coalitions will develop and publish a manual on compensating moral harm in torture cases to guide legal professionals, doctors and psychologists in their work.

The human rights groups will conduct these activities in the framework of the EU-funded project, “Action for Freedom from Torture in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan“, which is implemented by the NGO Coalitions against Torture in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) and International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium). Co-sponsor of the project is the Open Society Foundations.