The Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act 2000 was intended to give effect to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Act defines torture as an act or omission by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person
(a) for such purposes as
- obtaining from that person, or from another person, information or a confession,
- punishing that person for an act which the person concerned or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or
- intimidating or coercing that person or a third person, or
(b) for any reason that is based on any form of discrimination, but does not include any such act that arises solely from, or is inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions.
The Act creates a statutory offence of torture with extra-territorial jurisdiction. Section 4 of the Act contains a non-refoulement safeguard, and states that a person shall not be expelled or returned from the State to another state where the Minister is of the opinion that there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture. In determining whether there are such grounds, the Minister is obliged to take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.