UNCAT presentation - americanforeignpolicy
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United Nations Convention Against Torture
1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him. 2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear. 3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage. 4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions. 5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water. 6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.
Simulation Discussion Was the method of torture you chose effective for the goal you were trying to reach?
Simulation Discussion Why did you choose to use torture? Why did you choose not to use torture?
UN Convention Against Torture • • • •
Drafting started in the late 1970’s Countries start to sign the treaty Feb. 4, 1985 Comes into force June 26, 1987 74 signatories out of 144 countries who support the treaty (http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratificatio n/9.htm)
UN Definition of Torture ‘any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
Torture is ineffective for gathering good intelligence Yes or No?
• Former CIA officer Bob Bear, “You can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough.” (Ross & Esposito, abcnews.com) • Col. Brittain P. Mallow, commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force (2002-2004) "No. 1, it’s not going to work. No. 2, if it does work, it’s not reliable. No. 3, it may not be legal, ethical or moral. No. 4, it’s going to hurt you when you have to prosecute these guys. No. 5, sooner or later, all of this stuff is going to come to light, and you’re going to be embarrassed."
No • Time is of the essence, and torture may be the only way to extract the information needed. • Torture techniques are monitored by superiors and are only used against the most valuable and difficult prisoners.
Torture is morally wrong and should never be used Yes or No?
Yes • It deprives the individual of human dignity • It is psychologically scarring to the victim and perpetrator • It is a human rights violation • It is a form of terrorism
No • The term “moral” has no universal acceptance • Never is too absolute of a term, there is always some situation where cost benefit analysis prevails in favor of torture • There must be room for exceptions
Geneva Convention • Article 3.1. • To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the abovementioned persons: • (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; • (b) Taking of hostages; • (c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; • (d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
• US says Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to war on terror – Alberto Gonzales called the Geneva Convention “quaint and outdated” – Are the standards of the Geneva Convention and the UNCAT outdated when applied to the post September 11th world? • Is that the exception to the rule?