oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - 'Torture-lite' in the 'wild zone of power'

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This article explores the international law obligations that prohibit torture so to investigate the variety of so-called 'torture-lite' techniques often used during interrogation. More particularly, it examines the specific obligations that states bound by these sources of law bear, and whether there is any merit in the distinction drawn in some treaties between torture, and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. What international tribunals and treaty-monitoring bodies have had to say about these specific 'torture-lite' methods of interrogation, whether they constitute a breach of international legal obligations, and whether these obligations are altered as a result of the location of the conduct is considered. In conclusion I offer some critique of the rationality of the interrogative purpose in light of the reality within the 'wild zone of power', and suggest some thoughts on the way forward for the human rights project of prohibiting torture, in light of what can and does occur in this 'wild zone of power'.

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