Committee Against Torture (CAT)

Monitors the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Signed by Israel: 22 October 1986. Ratified: 3 October 1991.

Background | 48th Session, 2011 | 42nd Session, 2009 | 27th Session, 2001 | 20th Session, 1998

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


Signed by Israel: 22 October 1986

Ratified by Israel: 3 October 1991

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) obligates State Parties to prevent torture within their own borders and in areas under their control, and forbids countries from transporting people to countries where they may be tortured. Torture and other treatment is defined in the Convention as:

"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity" (Article 1). 

CAT requires that State Parties enact legislation explicitly making torture a crime, and to prosecute anyone who violates the law in any area under its jurisdiction. The Convention also stipulates that Parties train law enforcement and public officials about the definition of and prohibition on torture, and to fully investigate all accusations of torture. State Parties provide a report to the Committee Against Torture every 4 years following ratification on the status of implementation of the Convention.

Israel placed reservations upon ratifying the Convention that prevents the Committee Against Torture from making special visits to Israel to investigate whether the Convention is being followed, and prevents other parties from its signature on the Convention being used in the International Court of Justice. 

The 48nd Session of CAT: List of Issues Prior to Reporting

In 2011, the CAT opened an Optional Procedure that allows states respond to a List of Issues presented by the Committee before their reviews. In June 2012, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) posed 59 questions to Israel regarding its compliance with the UN Convention.

List of Issues Prior to Reporting - 1 June 2012

NGO Press Release

Adalah, Al Mezan, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel submitted a joint report to CAT on Israel’s non-compliance with the convention in order to call the expert members of the Committee attention to Israel's use of torture. 37 of the CAT’s 59 questions for Israel related directly to issues that the NGOs raised in the joint report.

Issues included failure to make torture a crime as defined in the Convention, detention without trial including administrative detention and those classified as “Unlawful Combatants,” harsh detention conditions such as solitary confinement, mistreatment of asylum seekers, insufficient investigation into torture complaints, exceptions to excluding unlawfully obtained evidence in prosecution, severe restrictions on movement preventing access to healthcare and family life for Palestinians in Gaza, lack of adequate investigation into violations during Operation Cast Lead, and punitive home demolitions. 

NGO Report in Preparation for List of Issues - Press Release - 27 March 2012

The 42nd Session of CAT, 27nd April - 15 May 2009

Concluding Observations - 23 June 2009

Adalah Press Release - 20 May 2009

CAT raised many of the issues contained in the oral and written interventions submitted by Adalah, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, DCI-Palestine, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel as the United Against Torture Coalition. Adalah contributed research and writing on ten issues of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The organizations submitted joint reports to CAT in 9/08 and 4/09 and Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-'Ajou attended the Committee's review sessions on Israel in 5/09 in Geneva. 

The Committee raised serious questions involving what it categorized as "numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations" of torture and ill-treatment by Israel against Palestinians and called for an independent investigation into operation 'Cast Lead' in Gaza. Meetings were also held with human rights officers working with the UN SR on Torture; the UN WG on Arbitrary Detentions; the UN SR for the OPT; and the Head of the UN Treaty Bodies section and the Head of the Civil Society Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Reporting and participation supported by the European Commission.   

Israel's Statement to CAT (2)

Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou together with representatives from UAT and Al Haq traveled to Geneva in 11/08 to introduce the main concerns of the UAT to a CAT country rapporteur on Israel and international NGOs working to eradicate torture. Adalah contributed 10 sections to the report, which analyze various Israeli laws and practices constituting torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners and Palestinian civilians in the OPT. Adalah also participated in diplomatic briefings in Israel on the UAT report.

United Against Torture's Supplamentary Report (2) (Annex) - April 2009

Israel's Response to the List of Issues 

List of Issues presented by CAT - 2 February 2009

United Against Torture (UAT)'s Alternative Report for Consideration of Israel's Fourth Periodic Report (Annexes 1 - 2 - 3) - 1 September 2008

Israel's Fourth Periodic Report - 27 December 2007

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The 27th Session of CAT, 12-23 November 2001

Concluding Observations

Israel's Third Periodic Report - 4 July 2001

The 20th Session of CAT, 4-22 May 1998

Concluding Observations

Israel's Second Periodic Report

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