Preventive detention and torture as part of Counterterrorism (CT) operation
International law sets absolute prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as this principle guarantees the basic human rights. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment provides that: “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.” The September 11 terrorist attacks challenged this international principle guiding the fact that the information gained using such violent and cruel tactics sometimes is the only way to prevent the tragedy and can help to save time while protecting lots of human lives. The two questions appear while dealing with this problem: “Does the national security interests are the worthy reason to violate human rights; and if so, are the preventive detention and torture the measures that can really be efficient while preventing terrorism attacks?”
Some measures in war against terrorism sometimes only seem to be efficient. Racial profiling assuming that the representatives of some social groups are more likely to commit a crime than other is often used as crime and terrorism-prevention action. Bernard E. Harcourt in his work “Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique of the Economics, Civil Liberties, and Constitutional Literature, and of the Criminal Profiling More Generally” provides the statistical data of disproportional searches of Hispanic and African–American motorists on highways conducted by police in attempt to maximise the results of drug contraband searches. But the scientific approach shows that such violating human rights actions give sense of immunity for white motorists while they are checked less and increases the level of resentment of Hispanic and African–American population and this can outweigh the benefits from reduction of minority crimes. Being searched only because of racial origin abuses racial groups while undermining cooperation between police and citizens. Such actions provide huge opportunities for overuse of powers, while the person can be suspected in terrorism because of nationality and race.
Torture and preventive detention while can be assumed efficient in gaining information in particular circumstances in long-term perspective just foment international strife, while invoking new terrorism attacks in response to violence. The US government explains the cases of torture against detainees as exceptional and that these actions have not been applied as the result of deliberate policy, but the facts show systematic cruelty against detainees in Iraq, Guantanamo prison and Afghanistan and the official policy facilitating such actions. If even exceptional use of torture and prevention detention would be approved in the state level this would cause the violence in response and the field for overuse of powers by authorities. There is no democracy in the country where even not guilty person because of suspicions in terrorism can be detained and face tortures to get a confession to the crime. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said: “Let us be clear: torture can never be an instrument to fight terror, for torture is an instrument of terror.”
Posted by: Jule Sipes