Vacancy Notice N° e257/2013
Executive Secretary of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (Grade A6)
Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI)

Human Rights Directorate
Closing date: 13 November 2013
Location : Strasbourg

Job mission

The postholder advises and assists the CPT in relation to all aspects of its mandate as set out in the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ECPT). He/she provides leadership to the CPT’s Secretariat and manages it efficiently, in compliance with the relevant regulations and Council of Europe values.

Key activities

The postholder has the following duties:


§  to provide continuous advice to the CPT and its Bureau (President and 1st and 2nd Vice-Presidents) on the organisation of the Committee’s country visits (periodic and ad hoc) and on the Committee’s ongoing dialogue with Parties to the ECPT. He/she takes part personally in CPT visits and high-level talks with Parties when this is required by the importance of the issues involved;


§  to ensure the smooth running of the thrice-yearly plenary sessions of the CPT and of all related meetings (of the Bureau, visiting delegations, working groups, etc);


§  to provide general guidelines and priorities to the Deputy Executive Secretary and the Heads of the three Divisions in the CPT’s Secretariat responsible for visits, as well as to supervise their work and evaluate their performance;


§  to provide direction and  motivation to all members of the CPT’s Secretariat, ensuring a clear allocation of roles and responsibilities and fostering cooperation, team spirit and a harmonious working environment;


§  to assume responsibility, as cost centre manager (CCM), for the sound management of the financial resources allocated to the CPT’s activities;


§  to promote cooperation, synergy and transversal connections with other Departments of the Council of Europe;


§  to develop cooperation and synergy with other actors, at both national and international level, working towards the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Particular attention is to be given to developing the CPT’s relations with the Subcommittee on Prevention and the national preventive mechanisms set up under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture;


§  to maintain contacts as required with the Ministers’ Deputies and the Parliamentary Assembly, and ensure respect of the CPT’s obligation to submit to the Committee of Ministers every year a general report on its activities;


§  to keep the Director of Human Rights and the Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law informed of matters of considerable importance arising out of the CPT’s activities and, when appropriate, to advise the Secretary General on such issues;


§  to promote knowledge of the CPT’s activities among civil society and the general public.


Please note that the postholder may be required to perform other duties not listed in the vacancy notice.

Eligibility Requirements

Only applicants who best meet the following criteria will be shortlisted. Criteria marked with an asterix (*) are statutory requirements.


·       Qualifications: higher education degree* equivalent to at least a Masters degree (2nd cycle of the Bologna Framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area), preferably in law or another subject related to the CPT’s activities. 

·       Experience: professional experience, preferably of 12 years or more, in a relevant field of activities; direct experience of visiting or working in places where persons are deprived of their liberty by a public authority would be an asset. 

·       Language requirements: very good knowledge of one of the Council of Europe’s official languages (English and French) and good knowledge of the other.  

·      Nationality: national of one of the 47 Council of Europe member States*.  

·         Age: under 65 years of age, at the closing date of the vacancy notice*. 

Employee Core Values


·         Vision of international affairs: vision and strategic insight; awareness of the international political, economic, social and cultural context; sensitivity to conflict situations and difficult environments.

·         Managerial skills: strong leadership skills; the capacity to motivate a team and handle complex processes;  coaching of others, with particular emphasis on ensuring the drawing up of high-quality documents within strict time limits;  influence and authority.

·         Professional and technical competencies: profound knowledge of issues concerning deprivation of liberty, in the criminal justice, mental health and/or immigration fields, with particular emphasis on means of protecting persons deprived of their liberty from ill-treatment; the ability to establish facts and make sound assessments in complex situations; extensive experience in managing human and financial resources at a senior level, preferably in an international context; conceptual thinking at a strategic level.

·         Interpersonal skills: relationship-building and networking at senior diplomatic and administrative levels; negotiating skills; diplomacy. 

·         Communication and linguistic skills: highly-developed communication skills, both oral and written; the ability to make clear and convincing presentations and to draft/revise complex documents; knowledge of other European languages would be an asset.

·         Personal attitudes: initiative and responsibility; result orientation and concern for continuous improvement; concern for quality and efficiency; adaptability; self management and development; organisational alignment.

·         Personal values: integrity; loyalty; commitment and conscience; discretion; independence and confidence; respect for diversity.


For more information, please refer to the competency inventory of the Council of Europe.

Additional information

Applications must be made in English or French using the Council of Europe on-line application system. By connecting to our website you can create and submit your on-line application. Applications must be submitted at the latest by 13 November 2013 (midnight Central European Time).  
Only those candidates who are considered to best match the requirements of the job vacancy will be selected for the next stage of the recruitment procedure.
After the preliminary selection has been made, candidates for senior management posts (grades A6 and A7) at the Council of Europe will be subject to a competency assessment.
Candidates may be invited to attend interviews. 
The post of Executive Secretary of the CPT will be vacant as from 1 March 2014.
A summary of the employment conditions applicable to this type of post and information on the living and working environment in Strasbourg are set out below.
Under its equal opportunities policy, the Council of Europe is aiming to achieve parity in the number of women and men employed in each category and grade. In the event of equal merit, preference will therefore be given to the applicant belonging to the under-represented sex.
The Council of Europe welcomes applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial, ethnic or social origin, colour, religion, belief or sexual orientation.
During the different stages of the recruitment procedure, specific measures may be taken to ensure equal opportunities for candidates with disabilities.
The Organisation 
The Council of Europe is a political organisation founded in 1949 in order to promote greater unity between its members. It now numbers 47 member States. The Organisation’s main aims are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and to develop common responses to political, social, cultural and legal challenges in its member States. Since 1989 it has integrated most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and supported them in their efforts to implement and consolidate their reforms.
The Council of Europe has its permanent headquarters in Strasbourg (France). By Statute, it has two constituent organs: the Committee of Ministers, composed of the member States’ Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and the Parliamentary Assembly, comprising delegations from the national parliaments. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe represents the entities of local and regional self-government within the member States.
The European Court of Human Rights is the judicial body competent to adjudicate complaints brought against a state by individuals, associations or other contracting states on grounds of violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The CPT 
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) was set up under the 1987 Council of Europe Convention of the same name (ETS.126, hereinafter “the Convention”).
According to Article 1 of the Convention:
“There shall be established a European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment... The Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such persons from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The work of the CPT is designed to be an integrated part of the Council of Europe system for the protection of human rights, placing a proactive non-judicial mechanism alongside the existing reactive judicial mechanism of the European Court of Human Rights.
The CPT implements its essentially preventive function through two kinds of visits – periodic and ad hoc. Periodic visits are carried out to all Parties to the Convention on a regular basis. Ad hoc visits are organised in these States when they appear to the Committee “to be required in the circumstances”.
When carrying out a visit, the CPT enjoys extensive powers under the Convention: access to the territory of the State concerned and the right to travel without restriction; unlimited access to any place where persons are deprived of their liberty, including the right to move inside such places without restriction; access to full information on places where persons deprived of their liberty are being held, as well as to other information available to the State which is necessary for the Committee to carry out its task.
The Committee is also entitled to interview in private persons deprived of their liberty and to communicate freely with anyone whom it believes can supply relevant information. Each Party to the Convention must permit visits to any place within its jurisdiction “where persons are deprived of their liberty by a public authority”. The CPT’s mandate thus extends beyond prisons and police stations to encompass, for example, psychiatric institutions, detention areas at military barracks, holding centres for asylum seekers or other categories of foreigners, and places in which young persons may be deprived of their liberty by judicial or administrative order.
Two fundamental principles govern relations between the CPT and Parties to the Convention – co-operation and confidentiality. In this respect, it should be emphasised that the role of the Committee is not to condemn States, but rather to assist them to prevent the ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. After each visit, the CPT draws up a report which sets out its findings and includes, if necessary, recommendations and other advice, on the basis of which a dialogue is developed with the State concerned. The Committee’s visit report is, in principle, confidential; however, most of the reports are published at the State’s request.
Summary of Conditions of Employment and the living and working environment in Strasbourg referring to appointments to posts of Director (Grade A6)[1].
1.       Appointment
In accordance with Article 25 of the Regulations on Appointments, should an external candidate be selected, he/she will be appointed on an initial two-year contract, constituting a probationary period. If, after the probationary period, the staff member is confirmed in his/her post, the appointment will be extended for one or more periods varying in length between one and five years. According to the same provision, should an internal candidate be selected, he/she will be initially appointed for a trial period of two years. During this period, staff so appointed shall retain their previous grade but be paid a monthly basic salary which corresponds to the remuneration they would have received if they had been promoted to the grade concerned. If the staff member is confirmed in his/her post at the end of the trial period, he/she shall be promoted retroactively and re-appointed for three years. At the end of the period of five years, he/she shall be either kept in post, or assigned to another post at the same grade.
2.       Salary and allowances (gross)
Basic monthly rate:                                                                                                         11 092,00 € 
Monthly rate, plus household allowance for dependent spouse and/or children:                11 757,52 €
In addition, the following allowances may be payable as appropriate:
i.        expatriation allowance of 10% of the monthly rate shown above;
ii.       dependent child's allowance (current rate 319,52 € per child per month) plus 89,45 € per child expatriate supplement, where appropriate;
The salaries and allowances are not subject to income tax in any member State.
3.       Pension 
Compulsory contributions to the staff pension scheme (employee contribution 9,1 % of basic salary) secure entitlement on termination of employment, if less than 10 years service, to a severance grant equivalent to 2 times the rate of contribution as applied to the last annual salary per year of service (part-years are calculated pro rata). For staff having spent more than 10 years with the Organisation, the pension will amount to 1.75% of the last basic salary for each year of service.
4.       Social insurance 
Employees are covered by a private insurance scheme (covering accident, sickness, maternity, invalidity and death) which entails contributions of approximately 3% of basic salary.
5.       Leave 
32 working days of annual leave plus, for staff considered as expatriates, 4 days' home leave per year with passage paid every two years.
6.       Removals and Settling in 
Staff members recruited from a distance exceeding 100 km from their place of duty, are entitled to payment of their removals and reimbursement of their travel expenses at the beginning and at the end of their employment. They are also entitled to a settling-in allowance upon taking up their duties. These entitlements are subject to certain conditions.
7.              Schooling
For information on international education, you can consult the website of the “Ville de Strasbourg”: 
8.             Working conditions for family members
Your dependants will have the right to a “titre de séjour spécial” (special residence permit), valid for as long as you work for the Organisation. The “special residence permit” allows the holder to enter France and to circulate freely in the Schengen zone. However, it does not grant any right to work in France. Should one of your dependants decide to apply for a work permit, his/her application will be examined by the French authorities according to the standard administrative procedures, depending on his/her nationality. In many cases, French law requires that such applications be submitted from one’s country of origin. Moreover, the status of a “special residence permit”-holder is incompatible with that of a work-permit holder.

[1] The information on employment conditions is indicative and may be subject to change. Only the actual employment conditions at the time of recruitment will apply.