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JMUN 2010 February 5th. Final round d ebate: torture Represented countries: all. Final round debate:. Should governments be allowed to use torture to obtain information from suspected political terrorists? Principles behind the debate: Does the end justify the means?

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jmun 2010 february 5th
JMUN 2010February 5th
  • Final round debate: torture
  • Represented countries: all
final round debate
Final round debate:

Should governments be allowed to use torture to obtain information from suspected political terrorists?

Principles behind the debate:

  • Does the end justify the means?
  • Do two wrongs make a right?
  • Can killing ever be ethical?
un convention against torture a definition
UN Convention against Torture: a definition
  • “…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…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 with the consent of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."
historical uses of torture
Historical uses of torture:
  • The Spanish Inquisition (15th – 18th centuries)
  • Used to extract confessions from ‘Conversos’ (converts to Judaism and Islam)
  • Types of torture: potro (the rack), strappado (weights attached to limbs), toca (water-torture)
the present day
The present day
  • Amnesty International: “…government practices in the context of counter terrorism – resulting in illegal detention, torture and other ill-treatment and impunity – continue to undermine human rights.”
  • http://thereport.amnesty.org/en/watch-and-listen/video/torture-can-never-be-justified
  • http://thereport.amnesty.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa (useful for MUNDP human rights committee)
slide7

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/accountability-for-US-counter-terrorism-human-rights-violationshttp://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/accountability-for-US-counter-terrorism-human-rights-violations

slide8

According to an unnamed high-level CIA source, water boarding was the only interrogation technique that broke Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to plotting several al Qaeda terror strikes, including the beheading of reporter Daniel Pearl and the 9/11 attacks.

slide9

“ As far as opponents of waterboarding are concerned, I have these questions to ask: Are a few moments of a terrorist’s discomfort more important than the lives of the innocents he seeks to destroy? Are two minutes of Moussaoui’s anguish worth more than the three thousand lives lost on 9/11? Does his momentary pain override a lifetime of hurt of those left behind? If you can’t answer in the affirmative then hold your peace."

VaskoKohlmayer, ‘The Case for Waterboarding’

according to amnesty international
According to Amnesty International…

“ In the name of countering terrorism, the USA has violated the rights of individuals in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and elsewhere. The human rights violations committed by and on behalf of the USA since 11 September 2001 are many and varied. This has been confirmed by documents, photographs, declassified legal opinion and official statements. These violations have included enforced disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in some instances leading to deaths in custody; prolonged incommunicado detention; other forms of arbitrary and indefinite detention; secret transfers of detainees between countries [‘extraordinary rendition’]; and violations of the right to fair trial.”

other offenders
Other offenders:
  • Saudi Arabia: thousands arrested in name of ‘fighting terrorism’. Forms of torture include suspension from ceiling, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and lashing (a legal form of punishment).
  • Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria (terrorist suspects held outside the law)
  • China (electric shock batons, cigarette burns, submersion in water)
no justification for torture
‘No justification for torture’
  • http://www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/counter-terror-with-justice/issues/no-justification-for-torture
the ticking time bomb scenario
The Ticking Time Bomb scenario

"If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used - and will be used - to obtain the information. ... no one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility.“ (US judge)

arguments in favour
Arguments in favour:
  • The infliction of pain on an evil-minded terrorist to save millions of innocent lives is an ethical trade-off.
  • The state has an obligation to protect the rights of innocent citizens; there’s no difference between a lone gunman and someone who withholds vital information (that could save hundreds of lives).
  • Torture is not punishment but a measure to protect lives; it is defensive, not retributive.
  • Inflicting pain is considered ethical during wartime. But aren’t we now at war?
  • Torture can produce valuable and reliable information.
  • International law does not apply because terrorists renounce their right to protection by the law once they decide to put other people’s lives in danger.
  • The UN Convention against Torture only applies to torture on one’s own soil.
  • Torture is not performed on legitimate foreign troops but on terrorists i.e. extremists who use torture and kidnapping all the time.
  • ‘Just deserts’: if they’ve inflicted pain, don’t they deserve to have pain inflicted on them?
  • Why is the West held to a higher standard than all the corrupt states in the developing world, where torture is a regular practice?
  • Torture ‘to save lives’ already has wide public support
arguments against
Arguments against:
  • Torture is always wrong. In no circumstances should this principle be sacrificed. The end does not justify the means.
  • Torture violates the dignity of the human being and dehumanises the torturer as well as the tortured.
  • Information acquired under force is likely to be flawed or false.
  • The ticking time bomb’s ethical calculation is false because there is no certainty of receiving accurate information.
  • ‘Humane’ methods of interrogation are more effective (Mind control drugs, sleep deprivation, good cop-bad cop techniques, verbal intimidation etc)
  • Civilised nations that use torture undermine their own success in the ‘war of ideas’
  • Torture is a rallying call for terrorists; helps recruit more young terrorists to their ‘cause’
  • The UN Convention against Torture applies to all individuals, including terrorists
  • Use of torture in own country jeopardises the safety of that nation’s troops abroad
  • Torture turns terrorists into ‘martyrs’
mun conference february 12th
MUN Conference February 12th
  • MUN conference
  • The legality of the West Bank wall
delegations
Delegations
  • P.N.A. (Nour, Zayna)
  • ICJ spokesperson (Raghad)
  • Libya (Anahita, Sophie)
  • Iran (Melis)
  • Syria (Can, Kaan)
  • Jordan (Efe, Oscar)
  • Qatar (Carmelo, Victor)
  • Turkey (Sven, Erol)
  • Lebanon (Arzu, Ashley)
  • China (Lara, Merve)
  • Israel (Noah, Nedim)
  • United States ( Gina, Vishwesh )
  • U.K. ( Sara, Sima)
  • Egypt (Phyllis, Deema)
  • Djibouti (Jae, Chris)
  • United Arab Emirates (David, William)
  • South Korea (Fabian, Hatau)
  • India (Daav, Derin)