Essays against the use of torture

Even if torture saves lives in rare cases, the escalation and abuse of torture in the majority of other cases would undoubtedly cause greater suffering than it prevents. Some academics counter the slippery slope argument by asserting that torture already happens and it is better to regulate it than prohibit it.

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That is perversely like arguing that because murder and terrorism happen, they too should be decriminalized. Torture cannot be trivially treated like alcohol or marijuana, where regulation may reduce harm. Torture is not a social problem; it is a different kind of violent harm.

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In medieval Europe , torture was regulated by detailed rules, yet codification failed to control the reckless and expanding use of torture. Third, if torture currently happens despite prohibition, then why would interrogators obey the limits imposed by any regulatory scheme? Interrogators would still torture if they think it is in the interests of public safety. It is preferable to hold the line at prohibition, but better to implement it through training police and military forces, and closer judicial supervision of interrogations.

Fourth, torturing anyone who may have information, and not just wrongdoers, casts collective suspicion on whole groups of people, such as the family, friends, and colleagues of a suspect, who may happen to know something about the threat. There is no clear limit to the range of people who could be exposed to torture. Fifth, if torturing terrorists aims to protect public safety, it is hard to see why other threats should not be combated by torture. Why not torture those planning genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, or rape, even a child kidnapper, as well as those who might know of others planning such crimes?

Again, there is no obvious limit to torture once the door to it is opened. Sixth, torture does not work. Debating the effectiveness of torture immediately concedes that torture may be morally permissible if it works. Nonetheless, since arguments for its effectiveness continue to be loudly voiced, it is necessary to combat such arguments, even if it means getting our hands dirty in the process. Experienced interrogators know that torture produces misinformation rather than information, since victims of torture will confess to anything to make it stop.

This could jeopardize rather than protect public safety, as investigators waste precious time chasing up false leads. Interrogators have sophisticated techniques for gathering reliable information: the shock of capture and disorientation of detention; offering rewards like cigarettes, or as U. Most detainees are soon worn down by the sheer exhaustion of resisting interrogators. The struggle against terrorism will be won by meticulous and time-honored police work, not cutting corners through torture. Finally, torture corrupts our institutions and professions.

Requiring interrogators to torture degrades and brutalizes them as human beings, and society cannot demand this of them. Former Taliban welcome. Since torture would likely be supervised by doctors, it would also implicate medical professionals in serious breaches of medical ethics. Nazi medical experiments on concentration camp inmates, and forced sterilization programs, illustrate the willing complicity of some doctors in implementing and legitimizing state-sanctioned violence.

How to Argue Against Torture

Further, some international and government lawyers have not covered themselves in professional glory by pursuing highly artificial and literal interpretations of legal provisions, contrary to the spirit and purpose of those provisions, and against the ideals of their profession. It is one thing for lawyers to search for loopholes in tax laws, but quite another to evade or avoid a law against inflicting pain and suffering on a person. Terrorism does not demand that we torture to defend ourselves.

To the contrary, the threat of terrorism reminds us of the importance of protecting human dignity, even of terrorists.

An Argument For and Against the Use of Torture on Suspected Terrorist

Law necessarily draws moral lines in the sand which cannot be crossed; the inevitability of torturing the innocent is a price too high to pay to save the lives of others. In , in an Israeli Supreme Court case declaring that the torture of Palestinians by the Israeli security service was unlawful, Chief Justice Barak wrote: Although a democracy must fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. At the end of they day, they strengthen its spirit and its strength and allow it to overcome its difficulties.

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As a citizen of Israel , Chief Justice Barak well understands the seriousness of the terrorist threat to innocent people, yet deliberately rejected resort to torture. Arguments against torture are not based on alarmism, moral absolutism, or rhetoric. The consequences of forcibly violating the body and the mind are profound and signal an unnecessary return to the blunt techniques of medieval justice. Torture irreparably damages human dignity, devalues human life, and corrupts the institutions of our democracy.

Discussing Torture More importantly, if we refuse to discuss torture, then we lose the opportunity to publicly explain the reasons why torture is so objectionable.

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  • Let me give you some examples: Human Rights Watch reports that at least 9 detainees are know to have died in U. Army investigation revealed widespread abuse of detainees in Afghanistan by poorly-trained and inexperienced soldiers, often out of boredom or cruelty, or for the pleasure of humiliating and inflicting pain on those in their power; Another U. As Human Rights Watch observes, diplomatic assurances supposed to guarantee the treatment of returnees have frequently been found to be ineffective; One Australian citizen, Mamhdouh Habib, alleges that he was informally rendered from Pakistan to Egypt by the United States, and tortured while in Egyptian custody.

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    The Australian government has been conspicuously silent in representing the interests of its nationals to the U. The Convention against Torture prohibits returning a person to a country where they are likely to be tortured; The UK courts have accepted that information obtained by torture may be used for security or intelligence purposes, such as to prevent a terrorist attack, as long as it is not used to criminally prosecute the person.

    Australian law similarly does not prevent the use of torture evidence for security reasons. Add to Cart. Have an Access Token?

    Enter your access token to activate and access content online. Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token. Have Institutional Access? Forgot your password? PDF Preview. Cherif Bassiouni. Table of Contents. Restricted Access. Related Content.

    Editor: M. This unique work is an article-by-article drafting history of the ICC Statute containing all versions of every article in the Statute as it evolved from to It also integrates in the Statute's provisions the "Elements of the Crimes" and the "Rules of Procedure and Evidence" adopted by the preparatory Commission Other relevant documents are also included, such as those concerning the privileges and immunities and financial regulations of the Court, as well as its relationship with the United Nations.

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    This documentation constitutes the most comprehensive treatment available of the ICC's applicable law. It also offers an insightful first-hand account of the drafting process both prior to and during the Rome Diplomatic Conference, along with a detailed historical survey of the efforts to establish the ICC.

    Each article of the Rome Statute is presented chronologically, along with all its prior versions. These versions comprise the texts transmitted between the Drafting Committee and the Committee of the Whole at the Rome Diplomatic Conference; the text proposed by the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an ICC; the text completed by the Intersessional meeting in Zutphen; the text proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court; the text proposed by the International Law Commission in It also contains government proposals made during the sessions of the Ad Hoc and Preparatory Committees, most of which have not been made public documents.

    This organization of the legislative history permits the reader to see the complete textual evolution of each article. A description of the ICC mechanisms and institutions precedes this article-by-article legislative history. Government officials, judges, practitioners, and scholars seeking to interpret and understand the ICC Statute will find this three-volume publication unmatched for completeness and ease of use. Published under the Transnational Publishers imprint.


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