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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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Is it (Internationally) Legal? Is it Torture?

Is it (Internationally) Legal? Is it Torture?

(p.270) 18 Is it (Internationally) Legal? Is it Torture?
Why Not Torture Terrorists?

Yuval Ginbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes international legal materials to examine the legality of interrogation methods used in the Israeli and US models. International law does not envisage legitimately coercing detainees into providing information, and has therefore made no allowance for effective means of doing so, rendering all US and Israeli ‘coercive’ methods unlawful. International human rights and humanitarian law clearly allow no ‘ticking bomb’ or any other exception to the prohibition on torture, nor to the prohibition of ill-treatment not amounting to torture. Using the ‘accumulation yardstick’ international jurisprudence — both on comparable interrogation methods and on US and Israeli methods specifically — have determined that used in combination and/or over time, even relatively ‘moderate’ or ‘lite’ methods such as sleep and sensory deprivation may amount to torture, and in the instant cases have.

Keywords:   torture, legal aspects, ill-treatment, international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, USA, Israel, interrogation methods

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