12: The Committee notes with concern that acts amounting to torture and ill-treatment are subject to a statute of limitations. The Committee is concerned that the statute of limitations for acts amounting to torture and ill-treatment may prevent investigation, prosecution and punishment of these grave crimes. In particular, the Committee regrets the dismissal of cases filed by victims of military sexual slavery during the Second World War, the so-called “comfort women”, for reasons related to statutory limitations.
The State Party should review its rules and provisions on the statute of limitations and bring them fully in line with its obligations under the Convention, so that acts amounting to torture and ill-treatment, including attempts to commit torture and acts by any person which constitute complicity or participation in torture, can be investigated, prosecuted and punished without time limitations. 24: The Committee is concerned at the inadequate remedies for the victims of sexual violence, including in particular survivors of Japans’s military sexual slavery practices during the Second World War and the failure to carry out effective educational and other measures to prevent sexual violence- and gender-based breaches of the Convention. The survivors of the wartime abuses, acknowledged by the State party representative as having suffered ‘incurable wounds’, experience continuing abuse and re-traumatization as a result of the State party’s official denial of the facts, concealment or failure to disclose other facts, failure to prosecute those criminally responsible for acts of torture, and failure to provide adequate rehabilitation to the victims and survivors.
The Committee considers that both education (article 10 of the Convention) and remedial measures (article 14 of the Convention) are themselves a means of preventing further violations of the State party’s obligations in this respect under the Convention. Continuing official denial, failure to prosecute, and failure to provide adequate rehabilitation all contribute to a failure of the State party to meet its obligations under the Convention to prevent torture and ill-treatment, including through educational and rehabilitation measures. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to provide education to address the discriminatory roots of sexual and gender-based violations, and provide rehabilitation measures to the victims, including steps to prevent impunity.