Freitag, 5.3.2004, 11:30h

Sanford V. Levinson

Contemplating Torture

Perhaps the strongest legal prohibition in the world is that concerning torture. The United Nations Convention on Torture unequivocally bars it and explicitly states that absolutely no circumstances, including war or states or emergency, can be used to justify it. 130 countries, including the United States, have signed the Convention. Yet within a month after September 11, a number of articles appeared in the press indicating that some public officials were chafing under these limitations. Many more articles have subsequently appeared, some describing methods of interrogation, others opposing or advocating the “legalization” of torture (as in the case of “torture warrants”). Levinson’s presentation will examine the general structure of this debate and offer some tentative conclusions as to his current views on the proper response to the question of torture.