The Israeli Supreme Court in 1999 decided to legalize the use of arbitrary torture as an interrogation method including violent shaking, isolation, beating, kicking, sleep deprivation, agonizing positioning and infliction of pain for prolonged periods and exempts ISA (Israeli Security Agency, formerly known as the GSS) interrogators who use physical pressure in extreme circumstances from criminal liability, as they may rely on the "defence of necessity". The UN Committee Against Torture has emphasized that such Israeli practices is torture and has expressed concern that Israel has failed to promulgate legislation prohibiting torture - both are violations of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Furthermore, torture is strictly forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 3 and 32, and is described as a grave breach under Article 147, thus constituting a war crime.[1]

 

 

The Fourth Geneva Convention

 

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
 

(b) taking of hostages;
 

(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
 

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
 

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

 

Art. 32. The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.

 

Art. 147. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

 

 

 

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984

 

Article 1

1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the investigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

 

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may not contain provisions of wider application.

 

 

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

 

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

 

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

 

 

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

 

2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which takes into account their grave nature.

 

Article 5

1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:

(a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;

 

(b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State;

 

(c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.

2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article.

 

3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.


 


[1] Our underlinin



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