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Analysis Of Torture Through Civil And Common Law Perspectives

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Under the United States spearheaded campaign on the global war on terror; much debate has come forth after the populous learned of the coercive methods employed by the various U.S intelligence agencies. This highly controversial topic came to fruition after the media broadcast precarious images of deprived terrorist detainees confined to the Guantanomo military compound in Cuba. The U.S where using a variety of "methods" to attain usable intelligence to better protect both the civilian populous, and Armed Forces service persons currently waging the war on terror. The question arises, is the means of torturing persons ethical in the moral, social and especially legal sense? Using a comparative analysis with both the United States common law system and Frances civil law system, I hope to conclude an effective answer. It is also imperative to comprehend historical, moral and social aspects of the use and effectiveness of torture.

The United States of America and the world in general are at war. America and several nations are not fighting a conventional war where two established adversaries meet in battle. They are instead fighting an unconventional war where the enemy is a non governmental organization of sorts that blends into the general population and commits act of terror. These terrorists do not adhere to the conventional rules of combat engagement and aim to strike fear within the general populous to promote a certain ideal they deem profoundly important. Considering these terrorist are not fighting a conventional war, are they entitled to the protections under the Geneva Convention? Such as giving them the liberty to be protected from coercive torture methods?

Using terrorist practices as a model, imagine if there was bomb in a major metropolitan city placed there by a terrorist organization, and this bomb would go off in one hour at the cost of thoasands of lives. If a member of this terrorist group was apprehended, would it be right to torture him if he was uncompliant with officials with disclosing the location of this bomb? Is it acceptable to physically coerce one man to possibly save thoasands of lives? This scenario is called the "ticking time bomb" scenario and I will refer to this latter in my analysis.

The Merian & Webster dictionary defines torture as: a : anguish of body or mind : agony b : something that causes agony or pain and or the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure. The United Nations further defines torture (in the political sense) as \"torture\" means 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/her or a third person information or a confession, punishing him/her for an act he/she or a third person has committed, or intimidating or coercing him/her or a third person for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the insigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official

or other person acting in an official

capacity.\" Ultimately, my aim is not inherently argue the elementary practice of torture itself, moreover the goal is to analyze and debate the U.N\'s definition of "political" torture by governments.

Historically persons and organizations have used torture to obtain information to benefit said person/organization for centuries. Torture itself goes back to ancient Rome\'s red-hot irons and lacerating hooks to medieval Europe\'s thumbscrews, rack, and wheel, for over 2,000 years anyone interrogated in a court of law could expect to suffer unspeakable tortures.

In the political arena of torture, very few democratic nations have admmited to resorting to torture to secure themselves. The Nation of Israel is one of the handful of nations known to have employed this coercive option. It is common knowledge that the Israelis have been continuously

been dealing with the threat of terrorism more frequently then current or previous organized socities. It is reasonable to conclude that publicly many nations devote any knowledge of tortourous practices employed by their nation, but privately they see the use of types of torture as a effective method to protect their civilians and personnel from terrorism. Others may use other forms of less detrimental or less painfull methods in interrogation of terrorists suspects. Some of these include but are not limited to, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, psychological coercion, trickery and other less "damaging" techniques to sort of fall "between the cracks" of anit-torture legislation.

The United States in particular has used some of these methods. The U.S interrorgation of detainees in Guantanomo has known to include sensory deprivation. Detainees where blindfolded, constained and other wise deprived of any physical sensory information. They also were allowed no human contact besides a handful of interrigators and other service people. While this form of interrogation does not clearly fall under the definition of physical torture, it does imply that a certain amount of coercion is being undertaken.

As far as the role of Frances more intrusive civil law system the advent of torture to protect the masses is a method that would seemingly be more likley to be embraced. The breadth and scope of Frances civil law system is by far more intrusive and civil liberties are not a top priority when it comes to matters of French National Security.

It is clear that the United States common law tradition, does not condone, nor encourage any acts of torture in the name of the state. Any act of torture will be criminalized. The United States is a member nation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The U.S must abstain from using torture due to their agreement with this Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Torture Convention), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This conventions law prohibits:

[A]ny 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. It does not include pain or suffering arising

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