Europe's Trade in Execution and Torture Technology. May 2015.
In 2006 the European Union (EU) introduced the world’s first multilateral trade controls to prohibit the international trade in equipment which has no practical use other than for the purposes of executions, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and to control the trade in a range of policing and security equipment misused for such violations of human rights, ‘Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 of 27 June 2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ (the Regulation). In January 2014 the Commission presented proposals to the Council of Member States and the European Parliament for strengthening the Regulation. Whilst the Commission proposals focused on certain long-standing limitations, they failed to effectively address a number of crucial weaknesses and loopholes in the Regulation and its attendant control regime. If these issues are not tackled directly now by EU Member States and the European Parliament, this rare opportunity to comprehensively strengthen the control regime and close loopholes exploited by unscrupulous traders will be missed. It is now time for the European Union to “grasp the nettle” and end Europe’s trade in execution and torture technology for good. This report, co-authored by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, is intended to inform this process by highlighting existing failings of the control regime through contemporary case studies and by providing realistic and workable policy solutions to these often complex technical issues.