9 During the first session of the Working Group, held from 19 to 30 October 1992, the then Articles 8, 10, 11, and 12 of the revised Costa Rica Draft of 1991 were discussed within the fourth basket of issues, ‘Operation of the system’.10
10 As to Article 8, and specifically the question of which kinds of visits the SPT should conduct, some delegates found that the programme of regular, preventive visits was the primary aim of consideration. However, it was felt that such a system was not enough by itself and that specific or ad hoc visits should be foreseen. Others felt that a clearer textual distinction should be drawn between the regular and the specific visits.11
11 One delegate distinguished between the words ‘visit’ and ‘mission’, on the basis that a visit was restricted to places of detention, while a mission might have other purposes to accomplish in a State. Another point was made that the programme of regular or fixed visits might lack responsiveness to changing circumstances and resource needs and that flexibility of administration could be an important attribute. A final suggestion was that notification of visits should be required.
12 As to Article 10, another issue raised during the discussions was the composition of the missions as such. Some delegations found that the need for experts to assist the mission was debatable, given that the members of the SPT themselves were to be experts in the relevant fields. Various other comments were raised regarding the rights and duties of such experts; the need to clarify the way in which they would be identified and selected, as well as what their specific functions would be.
13 With regard to Article 11, one delegation felt that care must be given when selecting the experts in order to assess their qualifications in such a way as to complement the qualifications represented by the members of the SPT. Several members of the Working Group questioned the authority given to a State party, by virtue of Article 11(2), to exclude a person from taking part in a mission.
14 Regarding Article 12, the issue of notification was heavily discussed. Several delegations made the point that a notification to a State of an upcoming mission might not be adequate in that it would not permit the State, as required by the OP, to ensure the availability of all facilities required for the mission. It was discussed whether such a notification should remain indefinitely valid or be limited to a certain period of time. Some delegations were concerned that specific notice of the time and places of a visit might be conducive to abuse. One delegation found that agreement of the State concerned should be required for each visit of the SPT, while others were of the opinion that this would undermine the purpose of the Protocol as such. However, the observation was made that a lack of notice could generate delay and difficulties in ensuring access to the places to be visited.
(p. 841) 15 In the course of its second session from 25 October to 5 November 1993, the Working Group continued to consider Article 8. As to its paragraph 1, some delegations, referring to the ECPT, were in favour of replacing the word ‘missions’ with the word ‘visits’. Most delegations, however, preferred to maintain the distinction between the two notions, as it was CPT practice to refer to the word ‘mission’ in the case of a CPT-delegation entering a State territory and to refer to the notion ‘visit’ in the case of such a delegation visiting any one place of detention.12
16 With regard to the different kinds of missions, a number of delegations were in favour of inserting a provision allowing for non-regular and ad hoc missions. Some felt the need to specify the circumstances that could give rise to such other missions, while others found that this should be left to the discretion of the SPT.
17 As to Article 10, some delegations stated that the need for experts to assist the mission was not clearly established and there was a need to clarify the way in which they would be selected. Others felt that the presence of experts was necessary because of the workload to be carried and the flexibility required.
18 At the third session from 17 to 28 October 1994, it was felt that the issue dealt with in Article 12(1) should be addressed in the context of Article 8. Some delegations were of the opinion that consent or agreement of the State concerned should be required for each visit of a delegation of the SPT.13 Others pointed out that this would greatly diminish the preventive character of the new system and that such consent or agreement was already implied in the ratification of the Protocol.
19 With regard to the issue of notification, one delegation, supporting the delegation of Egypt, found that the OP should explicitly provide for a ‘reasonable interval of time’ between the notification of a State concerned and the dispatch of the SPT’s mission.
20 Articles 10 and 11 were commonly considered during the third session of the Working Group. Once again, the need for additional experts to assist a delegation’s mission was doubted by several delegations. Many delegations stressed the need to have clear criteria for the selection of such experts. Some proposed that the States parties should draw up a list of experts from which the SPT could make its choice. One delegation put forward a proposal to combine Articles 10 and 11 in a single article, another one put forward a proposal to amend the two articles in order to define the functions of advisers and the circumstances in which they might be employed.
21 During the fourth session of the Working Group, held from 30 October to 10 November 1995, Articles 10 and 11 were reconsidered. The representative of the Committee against Torture emphasized the importance of having experts in a delegation. In his opinion, the selection of experts should be performed by a delegation of the SPT that was to carry out a mission to a State party, and the main criterion for their selection should be their competence. An expert should not visit his or her own country and a Government should be able to object to the visit of one or another expert without giving reasons therefor.14
(p. 842) 22 At its seventh plenary meeting, the Chairperson of the informal drafting group proposed a consolidated text for Articles 10 and 11 to serve as a basis for the second reading of the draft OP. This text had originally been proposed by the delegation of El Salvador, and had subsequently been amended to include all the views expressed during the informal drafting process.15
23 At the Working Group’s sixth session, held from 13 to 24 October 1997, a general discussion on consolidated Articles 10 and 11 was opened.16 On 16 October 1997, the observer for Sweden submitted a proposal on Article 10, having taken into account the various proposals on consolidated Articles 10 and 11 submitted at earlier sessions, the discussions held on the issues, and the original text as submitted by Costa Rica in 1991. It contained the ‘general rule’ that missions would be carried out by at least two members of the SPT, a method by which a transparent roster of experts would be established and a safeguard ensuring the integrity and impartiality of experts. It foresaw that experts were subordinate to the SPT and that a State party could exclude an expert or interpreter from taking part in a mission to territory under its jurisdiction.
24 The representative of China also submitted a proposal on Articles 10 and 11, limiting the number of experts and stating that experts should be used only in exceptional cases subsequent to permission of the State concerned. The observer for the Committee against Torture shared his experience as a member of the CPT, where at least two CPT-members had taken part in visits, always with the assistance of experts who rendered technical assistance and had no political influence.
25 On 20 October 1997, a new text of Article 10 was submitted to the Working Group by the Chairperson of the drafting group.17 In this proposal, the already proposed roster of experts was missing. Finally, Article 10 was adopted and the matter of a roster of experts was included in a new Article 10 bis. The text of the proposed Article 10 bis was then adopted by the Working Group as new Article 14.18
26 The Working Group then held its eighth session from 4 to 15 October 1999. On 14 October 1999, the Working Group had before it the consolidated texts of various proposals relating to Articles 1, 8, 12, and 13, which—after some consideration—were then accepted to serve as a basis for future discussions.19
27 During the ninth session from 12 to 23 February 2001, the issues in question were discussed with regard to the alternative draft submitted by the delegation of Mexico with the support of GRULAC contained in its Article 23. It was felt, in particular, that the frequency of visits to be carried out by the SPT and whether they should be periodical, ad hoc or both, should be subject of further considerations.20
28 In the proposal presented by the Chairperson-Rapporteur, the mandate of the SPT was discussed in Part III, where Article 13 established the different types of visits that the SPT would undertake.21
(p. 843) 29 At its fiftieth meeting on 22 April 2002, the Commission on Human Rights basically 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.22