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29 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. [i] (2008-2009)

handle is hein.journals/niulr29 and id is 1 raw text is: Northern Illinois University
Law Review
Volume 29                        Fall 2008                       Number 1
The Torturing Debate on Torture
Dr. Mohammed Saif-Alden Wattad ............................................... 1
The War on Terrorism generated a correlation between terrorism
and torture. This article analyzes the basic premises of the torture
debate by addressing the following issues: (1) defining torture; (2)
punishing torturers; (3) justifying, excusing, or pardoning torturers;
and (4) conducting legal interrogation. The article criticizes existing
law on the torture debate for its lack of conceptuality and coherency,
thus arguing that the articulation of the existing definition of torture
has been politically motivated. The article offers a conceptual
understanding of the torture phenomenon as premised on five
conceptual distinctions: (1) superior versus inferior, (2) active
versus passive, (3) theatricality versus secrecy, (4) fear versus
security, and (5) pleasure versus suffering. This definition aims at
analyzing the torture phenomenon in the abstract, out of context.
Furthermore, the article suggests that torture does not bear on the
constitutive elements of guilt, and that torture involves the classic
types of conduct, with which we are familiar, of other domestic
crimes of violence against the body or the person. Torture represents
the overriding motivation of the torturers, thus reflecting the degree
of dangerousness upon which they are acting. Such dangerousness is
a relevant aggravating factor at the sentencing stage, which the
prosecution is required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence.
Moreover, the article targets five taboos that recur in the torture
debate, aiming thereby to refute or uphold them. These are: (1) the
illusive nature of the ticking-bomb enigma, (2) the unjustifiable
grounds of the prohibition against torture, (3) the inexcusable
torturers, (4) compassion toward torturers, and (5) the administra-
tive aspects of a reasonable interrogation. Finally, the article
conveys the message that the nature and basic character of the
prohibition against torture can be summarized in two words: Hu-
man Dignity.

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