6 On 13 February 2001, at the second meeting of the Working Group during its ninth session from 12 to 23 February 2001, the delegation of Mexico introduced its alternative draft (prepared with the support of GRULAC).
7 This draft was based on the principle that States have the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights and that the action of the international mechanism has to be complementary to the action taken by each individual State. Thus, in the alternative draft it was proposed that States parties to the Protocol should create national mechanisms for the prevention of torture. A number of delegations from other regional groups supported the Mexican draft and appreciated Mexico’s efforts.8 During the discussions, many delegations emphasized the complementary nature of the proposed national and international mechanisms. Others, however, found that there was no proper balance between the national and the international levels and expressed concern that the latter seemed to become subsidiary to the former.9 The delegations who supported the alternative draft underlined that it constituted an improvement of the original draft, supplemented by the added value of national mechanisms. National mechanisms would be in a better position to prevent torture and to visit facilities all over a country, including those located in remote areas where an international body would probably never be able to go. Some delegations recalled that it had been repeatedly recommended by the CPT to install mechanisms at the national level.10 Some other delegations raised concern about the financial implications of creating national and international mechanisms.
8 During the tenth session of the Working Group from 14 to 25 January 2002, and after the Chairperson-Rapporteur had presented her proposal, a debate was held on the concept of the two-pillar system.11 The representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union, the Central and Eastern European States, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, in association with Cyprus, Malta, and Turkey, presented a common position. These delegations welcomed the initiative to establish a two-pillar system. Similar views were expressed by the delegations of Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, and Switzerland.
9 The delegation of Mexico stated that it did not insist on its proposal and that it supported the creation of a strong international visiting mechanism. The delegation of South Africa expressed concern that national mechanisms might shift the focus away from the efforts envisaged to achieve strong international standards of prevention against torture. The delegations of China, Cuba, Egypt, and the Syrian Arab Republic spoke in favour of the two-pillar system and emphasized the establishment of strong national mechanisms with visiting functions and an international mechanism which would mainly provide technical assistance. The delegation of the United States of America supported a three-pillar system, taking into account also the regional level, where States should be encouraged to consider adopting mechanisms that would provide for mandatory visits to places of detention such as those contained in the ECPT and its Protocol I.12
10 It was especially the mandatory nature of the proposed national preventive mechanisms that was first questioned by certain delegates, among them Switzerland, (p. 738) Denmark, Germany, and Canada, but also the United States of America, Cuba, and Japan. Others, however, like Guatemala, Argentina, and Mexico, were of the opposite view and supported the mandatory concept.13 The Working Group finally adopted the text proposed by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. At its fiftieth meeting on 22 April 2002, the Commission on Human Rights finally adopted the text of the OP submitted by the Chairperson-Rapporteur at the tenth session of the Working Group by twenty-nine votes to ten.14