U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques [June 16, 2004]   [open pdf - 84KB]

"The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdiction and to criminalize all acts of torture. Unlike many other international agreements and declarations prohibiting torture, CAT provides a general definition of the term. CAT generally defines torture as the infliction of severe physical and/or mental suffering committed under the color of law. CAT allows for no circumstances or emergencies where torture could be permitted. Assuming for the purposes of discussion that a U.S. body had to review a harsh interrogation method to determine whether it constituted torture under either CAT or applicable U.S. law, it might examine international jurisprudence as to whether certain interrogation methods constituted torture. A reviewing body might examine decisions made by both the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee against Torture, the monitoring body of CAT, which have examined interrogation methods including the use of such tactics as sleep deprivation, 'hooding' of detained individuals, and subjecting detainees to loud noise to determine whether such acts constituted torture. Although these decisions are not binding precedent for the United States, they may inform deliberations here. This report will be updated as events require."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32438
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