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Why Not Torture Terrorists?Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture$
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Yuval Ginbar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.001.0001

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Israel's High Court of Justice Model

Israel's High Court of Justice Model

(p.200) 14 Israel's High Court of Justice Model
Why Not Torture Terrorists?

Yuval Ginbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and analyzes the model of legalized torture established by a 1999 Israeli Supreme Court (as High Court of Justice, HCJ) ruling, under which interrogation of suspected terrorists has been regulated in Israel between then and the present. Declaring the Landau system as illegal, since the ‘defence of necessity’ (DoN) cannot apply a priori and interrogators have no authority to torture or ill-treat, the Court nevertheless ruled that the DoN is available ex post facto to interrogators who torture (applied ‘physical methods’) in ticking bomb situations. According to official data, dozens of Palestinians were interrogated annually using ‘extraordinary measures’ in TBSs during the second Palestinian Intifadah's first two years. Human rights organizations claim much higher numbers. No interrogators have been prosecuted. Methods, pronounced by a UN expert to amount to torture, include incommunicado detention, sleep deprivation, shackling in painful positions, and other forms of violence and humiliation.

Keywords:   torture, legal aspects, ticking bomb situation, practical aspects, Israel, defence of necessity, Supreme Court, torture models, terrorism prevention, interrogation methods

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