General Discussion on the preparation for a General Comment on Article 9 (Liberty and Security of Person) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Palais des Nations, Room XII - 25 October 2012

On the occasion of its 106th session, to be held in Geneva from 15 October to 2 November 2012, the Human Rights Committee will hold a half day of general discussion in preparation for a General Comment on Article 9 (Liberty and Security of Person) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

Article 9

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Object and purpose of the half day of general discussion

The purpose of the general discussion is to commence the Committee’s process of developing a General Comment on article 9, expanding upon its General Comment No. 8, from 1982, in light of later experience obtained in the review of State reports and communications and in the adoption of General Comments on related issues.  The purpose of the general comment is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties and other actors on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with the rights protected under this provision. 


A note has been adopted by the Committee (CCPR/C/105/3) on the half-day of general discussion which identifies the issues the Rapporteur on the General Comment, Mr. Gerald Neuman, contemplates may be addressed in the General Comment. In this note, the issues are organized for convenience first by subparagraph of Article 9, and then followed by general issues.

Date and venue

The half day discussion will take place in a plenary meeting at the Palais des Nations
Room XII, 25 October 2012, 8-14, avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva, from 15 to 18 hrs. The discussion will be webcast at the following link:


The Human Rights Committee invites interested members of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society, and academia to participate and to provide written information on the subject Interpretation will be provided in the following languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Written Contributions

Organizations wishing to submit written contributions are welcome to do so. Submissions should be sent electronically in Word format to the Secretariat ( and indicating "Half Day of General Discussion on Article 9” in the subject by 28 September 2012.

Documents may be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Please note that written contributions will not be translated by OHCHR. As most Committee members use English as their working language, documents submitted in French and Spanish should, to the extent possible, be translated into English.

Written contributions will not be reproduced by OHCHR, thus 35 hard copies should be provided by the deadline i.e. 28 September 2012.

Written contributions, assuming they arrive in the Secretariat by the deadline provided will be posted on the website for the half-day of general discussion.


Those wishing to participate orally should also inform the Secretariat ( and by 28 September 2012, after which time for presentations will be allocated. Those having provided written contributions in advance will be allocated more time for oral presentations.

Following the presentations, Committee members will have an opportunity to ask questions of and receive responses from the presenters. If time remains there will be a further opportunity for comments by participants.


Following the discussion, the Rapporteur will produce a draft of the general comment which will be presented to the Committee for a first reading in closed session. The text resulting from the first reading will be made public, on the Human Rights Committee’s webpage, for comments by all interested parties, before the second reading.


Representatives of non-governmental organizations wishing to attend the session should register online at CSO-Net – the link to the CSO Net will be posted here in due course – by 7 October 2012.

All others should fill out a conference registration form and send it to the Secretariat by email ( and by 7 October 2012.


Country-specific information