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Torturing international laws Torturing international laws
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-02-11 07:43:31
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The British foreign secretary has lost an Appeal Court bid to stop the disclosure of secret information relating to the torture of a UK resident; actually they were forced to release paragraphs of a document that described his time in detention in Pakistan. In those paragraphs there is description of the torturing and is described from the judges as “cruel, inhuman and degrading.” And to prevent any comments to keep a prisoner with force awake for hours and days is a painful torture that disorients them and causes serious psychological problems.

But the point is not what kind of tortures Mr. Binyam Mohamed gone through but what are we going to do with the information. Of course the British government continues arguing that everything was legal ridiculously saying that everything happened in Pakistani soil so no British law was violated and as a final argument they use something we heard often in the after WWII Nuremberg courts …they didn’t know!

The point actually has two sides. One is that there is no excuse for torture and there is no ethical or legal cover for that and that somehow the responsible for torturing in the 21st century must be punished. Is funny how some countries especially leading democracies support the United Nation’s effects internationally to stop violence, torture and war but they like to keep themselves of limits to the very same rules.

The international community has the rules, the laws and the courts to deal with those cases and it is odd that USA and EU the same time they keep a whole nation in the background just because they didn’t give their leaders to the international courts (like they could catch them, but this is another story all together which again includes USA and EU) and the same time they refuge to give their own criminals to the hands of the international justice. It makes you wander how they trust the international courts to serve justice with Milosevic for example and they don’t trust them to serve justice with Dick Cheney. Isn’t the former American Vice-President at least for ethical reasons responsible of what happened and probably still happens in Guantanamo camp, equally responsible with Milosevic and what happened in Croatia?

And yes I accept that what Cheney is blamed for is unfair and incorrect and he had all the good reasons to do what he did and give the orders he gave, shouldn’t talk about his side in an international institution that would clear his shadowed position? Be careful, I’m not comparing Dick Cheney with Milosevic, what I’m saying how it happens to be sure that the international court will serve justice with your enemy and not with you?

The tortures Mr. Binyam Mohamed had to go though were practiced by CIA agents in Pakistan and the truth came out after he was led to court in Britain for his activities. Mr. Binyam Mohamed in his unluckiness he is lucky enough to have on his side a legal system that respects his rights, but what happens with the others; not only the tens detainees of the Cuban prison-camp but with the hundreds if not thousands that we will never learn their names and they have been caught in the crossfire in Pakistan or Afghanistan, they were tortured without any evidence just because of their colour, beard, or religious believes? And please don’t even think to tell me that this didn’t happened, for the next couple of decades we are going to see hundreds of books from ex-agents telling us chilling stories about these people, torturing and questioning practices.

The decision of the court to allow the torturing information come in public is serious but historic will be the next step and how we are going to handle the whole thing because if a cover up follows then we haven’t done anything and any decision of any court is in vain.


    
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Emanuel Paparella2010-02-11 15:16:52
Kant would see this issue as an overarching one of ethical behavior which has to do with respect for the dignity of one's humanity. For if one does not respect that dignity even in one's enemies one does not respect it either in oneself and has in fact become like the enemy and lost the moral high ground.


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