Defining torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
David Weissbrodt and Cheryl Heilman
Host item entries:
Law and inequality, Vol. 29, no. 2, Summer 2011, p. 343-394
What legal standards should be applied to determine whether interrogation methods or conditions of confinement constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment? Is there an international consensus on how to determine when interrogation methods and conditions of confinement constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment? This article surveys the provisions of international agreements, customary international law, and federal laws in the United States pertaining to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. This article argues that the precedents and standards applied by international bodies such as the United Nations' Human Rights Committee, the European Court of Human Rights, and international criminal tribunals established by the United Nations should inform the standards applied by the United States in determining whether conduct falls within the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.