The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Commentary

Hardcover | April 4, 2008

byManfred Nowak, Elizabeth McArthur

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The prohibition of torture- the right to physical and mental integrity- is guaranteed in the strongest terms under international law. It is protected as an absolute right, non-derogable even in times of war or public emergency under many human rights treaties and is also generally accepted asa part of customary international law and even ius cogens. The problem of torture resurfaced in the second half of the 20th Century, and more recently in the contexts of the war in Iraq, the situation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, and of attempts to extradite persons considered to be 'threats to national security' to States where they may be at risk oftorture.The main instrument to combat torture within the framework of the United Nations is the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). It is one of the few human rights treaties which makes explicit use of the criminal law in order to prevent anderadicate violations- the main obligation of States parties to the CAT is to ensure that all acts of torture are offences under domestic criminal law and that punishments are appropriate to the grave nature of such crimes. The CAT even goes beyond the traditional principles of territorial andpersonal jurisdiction and for the first time applies the principle of universal jurisdiction under a human rights treaty. This volume explores the problematic definition of torture in the Convention, the substantive obligations of Sates parties, the principle of 'non-refoulement', provisions for international monitoring, and also the concept of preventative visits to all places of detention as contained in the OptionalProtocol to the CAT. It also covers issues including the distinction between torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment and the principle of non-admissibility of evidence extracted under torture. Full article by article commentary on the Convention also provides historical context and thoroughanalysis of case-law and practice from international and regional courts and monitoring bodies. Relevant case-law from domestic courts (such as that of the House of Lords in the Pinochet case) and the practices of domestic prison inspection panels are also discussed.

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The prohibition of torture- the right to physical and mental integrity- is guaranteed in the strongest terms under international law. It is protected as an absolute right, non-derogable even in times of war or public emergency under many human rights treaties and is also generally accepted asa part of customary international law and ev...

Professor Manfred Nowak is Director of Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, University of Vienna; UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and a former Judge of the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnoia and Herzegovnia. Elizabeth McArthur is at the Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, University of Vienna.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:1000 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 2.82 inPublished:April 4, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199280002

ISBN - 13:9780199280001

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Table of Contents

Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentPreamblePart IArticle 1Article 2Article 3Article 4Article 5Article 6Article 7Article 8Article 9Article 10Article 11Article 12Article 13Article 14Article 15Article 16Part IIArticle 17Article 18Article 19Article 20Article 21Article 22Article 23Article 24Part IIIArticle 25Article 26Article 27Article 28Article 29Article 30Article 31Article 32Article 33The Optional Protocol