U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques [Updated January 25, 2006]   [open pdf - 105KB]

"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 On October 5, 2005, the Senate adopted by a vote of 90-9 a floor amendment (S.Amdt. 1977) proposed by Senator John McCain to modify H.R. 2863, the Defense Department FY2006 Appropriations bill, which had passed the House on June 20, 2005. S.Amdt. 1977 prohibits persons in the custody or under the control of the U.S. government, regardless of their nationality or physical location, from being subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as defined by U.S. reservations to CAT. H.R. 2863 is currently in conference to resolve differences between the House-passed and Senate-passed versions, and it is unclear whether the provisions added to the Senate-passed version by S.Amdt. 1977 will be in the final bill."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32438
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