Friday, June 27, 2008

Convention Against Torture

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of the U.N. adoption of the Convention Against Torture in 1987. From that document:

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.


Article 6

1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence. The custody and other legal measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may be continued only for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted.

2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.

3. Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph I of this article shall be assisted in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national, or, if he is a stateless person, with the representative of the State where he usually resides.

4. When a State, pursuant to this article, has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the States referred to in article 5, paragraph 1, of the fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances which warrant his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of this article shall promptly report its findings to the said States and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.

Yesterday, At ACLU Blog:

....on June 24, 2008, 15 veteran interrogators retired from the U.S. military, FBI and CIA released a statement declaring torture and other abusive tactics "ineffective and counterproductive."

All of these June milestones, along with the fact that today is the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, make this month, and especially this day, a good time to reflect on the fact that we have yet to hold a single highly-level U.S. official responsible for the torture and abusive techniques that they authorized. Join us in calling on Attorney General Mukasey to appoint an independent prosecutor to ensure that any criminal acts are investigated and prosecuted without partisan interference, and on Congress to investigate how high in the administration crimes of torture and abuse were ordered or authorized.

There are things we can begin, and that we can do, that will be a part of the relentless march to end the atrocities.

Many of us talked about what we had seen when the perpetrators of the pro-torture policies of the worst administration ever, Yoo and Addington appeared, every bit the slime we expected from what they had done. Something had twisted inside them, and their humanity was diminished into a mockery of civilized appearance... like a costume on an animal, not fitting quite right.

This reminds me of a description of the German people after the death camps were discovered. They were forever scarred, twisting away from the truth by whatever means they could, and occasionally furious to be confronted with their complicity.

Of course, in the dock after WWII, those more intimately involved continually claimed that they worked under orders.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not trying to be an a... Ruth, but the trials of the WWII henchmen were in Nurnberg, Germany.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Ooops, change made from The Hague. I am getting into wishful thinking.

1:47 PM  

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