Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2001


This Article presents a comprehensive review of world torture and the efforts to eradicate it through both official and unofficial strategies of intervention, with special emphasis on the legal strategies. This Article recognizes the complexity of these strategies as they form a vast number of initiatives emerging from various elements of the international community. Part II of the Article touches on matters of definition and legal history. This enables the examination of the inherent characteristics of torture as they impact issues of governance, social control, and principles of basic respect and human dignity. Part III examines the efforts to universally proscribe torture in international law. It provides an overview of critical provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Part IV describes and critically evaluates United Nations-sponsored mechanisms created for the purpose of eradicating torture. Part V examines United States policy and the impact of domestic concerns on Congress's attempts to ratify international treaties. Part VI describes the decentralized character of the international system and underlines the importance of regional and municipal law initiatives to facilitate the objective of ending torture. This Part extensively reviews United States, European, and Israeli practice and case law. Part VII touches on the importance of civil society initiatives that complement litigation, legislation, administrative action, and United Nations initiatives in working toward a regime of complete abolition. It discusses a number of strategic initiatives available in the attempt to effectively abolish torture.