Human Rights Treaties In The United States Criminology Essay

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Human rights treaties define torture in varying ways based on the purpose of the treaty and/or the context. Different nations define torture differently and this explains the reason why it is difficult for a person to identify which country practice torture. The general definition of torture is any act of inflicting severe suffering and/or pain intentionally to another person. An individual and/or a nation with an aim of obtaining information, punishment, coercion and/or confession can carry out torture. The other reason unto why torture is practiced is to enhance discrimination of any kind. The severe suffering can be either mental or physical upon the victim. It is quite ambiguous to distinguish torture from other ill-treatments and/ punishment. Many factors determine whether the abuse is torture or not; for instance, the most common factors are the nature and the severity of the punishment and/or abuse. The international law prohibits all the incidence of ill-treatment and torture. The purpose of this study is to explore the case study of United States by analyzing and summarizing the key issues about torture (Stillman, 1996).


The case study discusses and/or focuses on the position of the United States upon torture and the practitioners of torture. The United States held an international day in June, 2003that aim at supporting victims of torture. United States perceive torture as a kind of alienation whereby an individual cannot enjoy the right of freedom. The case study describes how the United States is entirely involved in fighting against torture. It is actively involved in ensuring that people’s right of protection is put into practice. During the United States’ international day, former President George Bush announced that, the United States will commit itself in ensuring torture is eliminated all over the world. According to his speech, the United States Government will act as an example in the elimination process. The United States will embark on probing, prohibiting and prosecuting all the incidences and/or acts of ill-treatment or torture through all means. The case study shows how President George W. Bush’s speech led to acts of torture, abuse and deaths of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in the world. This what the case study refers to as torture and the public policy. The case study discusses that President W. Bush and other officers made decisions that set conditions for the practice of torture and other ill-treatment but there was no public evidence about this. This is to say that, it was difficult for the public to state whether the president together with other officers had ordered U.S personnel at Abu Ghraib to torture the prisoners (Stillman, 1996).

According to this case study, it is stated that formal decisions that hindered the non-legal combatants the right to safe-guard the Geneva conventions, changes in means of handling prisoners and the memoranda that limits the definition of torture amounts into operating policy, that advocates for the occurrence of torture in all detention centers of the U.S. The case study focuses on two important aspects that bring about torture in detention centers. These aspects are sadistic character of the detention center personnel and the poor training offered to the prison guards. This is actually, what leads to the practices of torture in most detention centers all over the world. This case study argues that many prisoners during December 2002 and May 2004 died from strangling, beating and shot by prison warders. Many deaths occur through strangulation, asphyxia and blunt force trauma. It is clear that abuse and torture in detention centers do not reflect the actions of the few sadistic guards but numerous official actions such as command changes, memoranda and policy changes. This brings about setting conditions for the practice of both abuse and torture to all detainees. According to this case study, it is clear that the military forces do many incidents of abuse and torture. For instance, the case study demonstrates how the U.S. Military forces during the year 2004 abused and tortured innocent detainees in countries such as the Iraq, Guantanamo and Afghanistan among other places. The Saddam Hussein military forces in Iraq were weak; a fact that led to its defeat by U.S military Forces. The purpose of the abuse and torture of the Iraqi inmates and/or prisoners was to gather information. According to the International law against torture, it was not right for the United States military force to torture detainees in order to extract the information they wanted about Iraq. The Saddam Hussein’s notorious inmates suffer severely from the U.S military forces attack. Many of these detainees were humiliated, injured and killed (Stillman, 1996).

Theory of self-defense.

The United States case study discusses the theory of self-defense that leads to more incidents of the abuse and torture in many detention centers in the world. The theory is notorious Bybee memorandum belonging to Bush administration. It hinders the use of coercive interrogation by stating that, torturing is the most effective way of punishing terrorists because it acts as a self-defense in future. It is also referred to as the distributive justice theory that justifies torture as self-defense in the field of terrorism. The theory draws a clear distinction between terrorists and other forms of criminals. According to this theory, United States and other states cannot consider torture as self-defense to inmates who are no longer willing to commit violent crimes in future. According to the United States case study, the theory offers a fertile ground for understanding the concept of torture and its implication to the people. Through the distributive justice theory, it is clear that United States uses torture as a form of self-defense against terrorists. The theory argues that, United States intentionally prepares illegal abuses and torture against terrorists with an aim of extracting information (Stillman, 1996).

The Judicial torture theory.

This theory is relevant to the United States case study of torture in that, it explains how prison warders and other judicial officers inflict severe pain and suffering on prisoners. According to the judicial torture theory, it is clear that the best way of extracting information from prisoners is by the act of using torture. According to this theory, the judicial officers and other officials but not the few actions of sadistic guards, intentionally prepare several incidents of torture and ill-treatment (Stillman, 1996).

The United States case study shows that torture and other forms of abuse against inmates are through slapping, kicking, jumping on the legs, photographing both naked female and male detainees and punching. The intelligence personnel are the key contributors to abuse and torture against the detainees. They encourage the prison guards and warders to torture detainees. Their motivation is evident whereby they cheer warders of the abuse and torture against the detainees. The United States case study argues that many incidents of torture are justified during terrorism period for instance, bombing time when the bombers are caught before accomplishing their mission. They are therefore tortured in order to provide the necessary information that the United States could use to save the innocent people (Stillman, 1996).

Possible alternatives toward the elimination or eradication of torture

As the United State case study goes, it is quite difficult to quit from the practices of torture. This is based on the fact that, judicial officers and other officials in the United States intentionally prepare many incidents of torture. The possible way out of this problem is through establishment of international law that prohibits torture. The United States government should ensure that, all the detention centers preserve the inmates right of protection. The United States should not consider torture as a means of self-defense because the information obtained through torture is unreliable unless it is verified using other means. The other alternative is that military training centers should foster better training to the trainees because poor training lead to the onset of torture in prisons. The Geneva Convention hinders officials from any involvement in torture. It argues that, the international law against torture applies to everybody and whoever deviates from the law, the United States considers him or her as a criminal. This is a good example of administrative alternative towards the abolishment and/or the elimination of torture (Stillman, 1996).

In conclusion, the case study is of much importance in that, it explores the concept of torture as used in the United States. Through torture, nations can extract information but the limitation of this information is that it is unreliable. The only possible way to eliminate torture is through the establishment of international law that offers equal rights to all individuals.