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Interrogation and TortureIntegrating Efficacy with Law and Morality$
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Steven J. Barela, Mark Fallon, Gloria Gaggioli, and Jens David Ohlin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190097523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190097523.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Defining Torture and the Obligation of Systematic Review in the CAT Treaty

Defining Torture and the Obligation of Systematic Review in the CAT Treaty

(p.21) 1 Defining Torture and the Obligation of Systematic Review in the CAT Treaty
Interrogation and Torture

Manfred Nowak

Giuliana Monina

Oxford University Press

Torture is one of the most severe and violent human rights violations and is absolutely prohibited under international law. As we also know from experience, most cases of torture occur during interrogations by law enforcement officials for the purpose of extracting a confession. After elaborating on the legal definition of torture under international human rights law and how torture can be distinguished from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, the authors reflect on the need to address the root causes of torture. While Juan Méndez’ call for a Universal Protocol for non-coercive interviews is an important initiative in this direction, this contribution focuses on the obligation of systematic review of interrogation rules under Article 11 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). This article of the treaty requires States parties to systematically review their interrogation rules, instructions, methods, and practices. Although it has not received much attention in the literature and seems—at first sight—to only establish a formal obligation to keep interrogation and detention rules under systematic review, over the years the CAT Committee has given a broad interpretation to this provision, making it an important safeguard for the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The authors provide an overview of the CAT Committee’s practice and discuss how Article 11 of CAT, acting as a guarantee of minimum standards of interrogation, could represent an important provision for ensuring the implementation of the CAT’s preventive obligations, laying the basis for bridging the gap between law and practice.

Keywords:   torture, cruel treatment/punishmentF, systematic review, interrogations, non-coercive interviews, Committee against Torture, Convention against Torture

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