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Torture under International Criminal Law

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use of extreme force upon a person resisting arrest) would constitute ill-treatment, not torture (Torture and Ill-Treatment n. d., para. 7). While the UN Human Rights Committee, a quasi-judicial body that evaluates violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, consider prohibitions on torture and ill-treatment as one class without further identifying which cases fall under each of them, European Court of Human Rights distinguishes them but holds that they are “absolute to the same degree”, saying that “torture carries with it a ‘special stigma’ which should be placed on only the most serious acts” (Torture and Ill-Treatment n. d., para.

8). Human rights treaties, although prohibiting torture did not define torture (Rodley 2002). Subsequent case laws affected and provided the substance of the definition that, in the long run, also influenced ensuing case laws (Rodley 2002). The collective agreement among members of the international community is that “torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment” can never exist together with the “global order fundamentally committed to basic respect and human dignity” (Nagan & Atkins 2001, p.

88). Despite the express prohibition by international, regional and national laws, some states seem to acquiesce with the commission of torture in their operational code and “immunise the torturer” from criminal liability (p. 88), indicating that its total eradication is far from reality (Nagan & Atkins 2001). As collated by Amnesty International in its 1999 Annual Report on torture and ill-treatment in the sub-Saharan region, around 33 countries have evidence of torture and ill-treatment by state authorities and 23 countries had deaths ascribed to torture, ill-treatment or disregard to humane prison conditions (Nagan & Atkins 2001).

Middle East and North Africa had more than 18 countries to have committed torture and ill-treatment and 8 countries had deaths resulting from torture and ill-treatment and inhumane prison conditions (Nagan & Atkins 2001). Reports of torture and ill-treatment came from 31 countries in Europe, with 8 countries having death while in custody (Nagan & Atkins 2001). Twenty-one countries in the Americas commit torture or ill-treatment with resulting death from around 6 countries (Nagan & Atkins 2001). Torture and ill-treatment in around 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific was reported, and deaths resulted in 11 countries (Nagan & Atkins 2001).

Figures revealed that in 1998, more than 125 countries committed torture while torture, ill-treatment, deficient medical care, cruel and inhumane prison conditions caused deaths in 51 countries (Nagan & Atkins 2001).

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preview essay on Torture under International Criminal Law
  • Pages: 21 (5250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Undergraduate
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