William F. Schulz

in Human Rights: Politics and Practice

Third edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print March 2016 | ISBN: 9780198708766
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191850790 | DOI:

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This chapter examines the use of torture in Western history, focusing on the torture of slaves, confessions as ‘the Queen of Proofs’, and calls for the abolition of virtually all forms of torture. It also considers the principal international instruments against torture, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Finally, it analyses the pro and con arguments of the hypothetical case in which a suspect is thought to know the location of a ticking bomb that is about to explode and may injure large numbers of people. It argues that such a scenario is extremely rare and explains how far more common instances of torture may most successfully be diminished.

Keywords: torture; Western history; slave; confession; Queen of Proofs; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; human rights; ticking bomb

Chapter.  12670 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations ; Human Rights and Politics

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