Torture and the War on Terror: The Need for Consistent Definitions and Legal Remedies

Torture and the War on Terror: The Need for Consistent Definitions and Legal Remedies

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Neither the war on terror nor torture respects borders.  A multinational effort is essential to achieve accountability. This article addresses two questions related to definitions and accountability.  First, why is there a need for a consistent definition?  One lesson from the Bush administration torture memos is the danger of differing definitions.  This question is explored by comparing the U.S. approach with that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and by examining other national laws and international bodies monitoring torture issues.   The second question is: What are the current limitations on available remedies that impede consistent accountability for torture?  The article examines criminal and civil options in the United States and in the international criminal tribunals as examples of what we have and what we lack.

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