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The Prohibition of Torture and ILL-Treatment under International Law

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Chapter Summary

The regional human rights treaties (the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, in article 5; the American Convention on Human Rights, in article 5; and the European Convention on Human Rights, in article 3) each express the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment in terms that are essentially similar to those of the International Covenant. Action against torture is taken as part of the more generalised procedures adopted within the United Nations (UN) system for the protection of human rights. There are essentially two elements that distinguish torture from other forms of ill-treatment – severity of pain and suffering and intention or purpose. Information obtained through torture is shared across national boundaries between state officials. Given that torture is a very serious crime under international and national criminal law, the legal liability and responsibilities of state officials who receive and act upon information obtained through torture needs to be addressed.

Keywords: European Convention; human rights treaties; ill-treatment; Inter-American Convention; international law; state officials; torture prohibition; United Nations (UN) system



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