The IBA’s response to the war in Ukraine
Human Rights Law Committee podcast series: Torture A-Z
This IBA Human Rights Law Committee podcast series looks at both obvious and overlooked aspects of litigating and documenting torture, in an ‘A-Z’ format. Although the obligations under the Convention against Torture are of a jus cogens nature, the scope of these obligations, and the range of physical and psychological torture/cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, tend to be understood or construed narrowly.
Prohibited practices are regrettably ‘normalised’ through the frequent use of such conduct (eg, prolonged isolation, incommunicado detention or enhanced interrogation techniques) and too often political circumstances lead to courtrooms being infiltrated by the fruits of torture.
The podcast series aims to address these issues - and illustrate the deleterious effects of torture on individuals and society - in a clear and accessible manner.
Leading this project, and featured in the first episode, are Alka Pradhan and Melinda Taylor, Co-Vice-Chairs of the IBA Human Rights Law Committee. Alka is a US human rights lawyer who has represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, civilian drone strike victims and other torture victims. Melinda is an Australian international criminal defence lawyer who has worked on defence cases before tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court, and engaged in human rights litigation concerning torture and arbitrary detention before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and UN special mechanisms.
Episode 1: A-C
This episode covers A-C: arbitrary detention, as both a form of torture and environment which renders individuals susceptible to torture; beatings – physical torture; and ‘confessions and clean teams’. Listen now
Episode 2: D-F
This episode covers D-F: deprivation; the exclusionary rule; and forensics. This episode includes an interview with the distinguished Argentinian jurist and activist, Professor Juan Méndez.
Episode 3: G
This episode – ‘G’ for Guantanamo voices – is dedicated to two powerful people: Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Nancy Hollander, who have both helped to shine a light on the humanitarian and human rights catastrophe that is Guantanamo Bay. Listen now
Episode 4: H–I
Episode 4 covers the juxtaposition of human rights and humanitarian law (‘H’) and Islamic law (‘I’) in a fascinating discussion with Dr Julie Fraser (Assistant Professor with the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law at Utrecht University, the Netherlands) and Dr Ahmed Aldawoody (Legal Adviser for Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the International Committee of the Red Cross). Listen now
- Further episodes to follow.