Recent events which challenge the absolute prohibition on the use of torture
18 June 2004
Written Declaration No 354
This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it
The absolute prohibition of torture which is defined by its subjective consequences and may be either physical or psychological and caused by single or repeated events is a customary norm of international law.
This prohibition has been challenged by recent events involving European forces in Iraq, Italian and Basque politicians, senior military officials in Denmark and Germany and, also in Germany, police and a leading politician.
The efficacy of torture in obtaining reliable information is uncertain. In the fight against terrorism (or any other crime), it will be of little direct value, whilst being indirectly counterproductive by discouraging provision of information and by promoting sympathy and even emulation.
The fight against all forms of crime, particularly terrorism, is a fight to defend civilised values, which is profoundly compromised by the fundamentally uncivilised practice of torture. True appreciation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law is shown by refusing to violate the fundamental principles protecting human dignity, of which torture is the most extreme violation.
The undersigned PACE members call on all Europes politicians to reject torture in all circumstances, and in particular call on the Italian delegation to ensure that Italian legislation fully reflects international law.
JASKIERNIA Jerzy, Poland, SOC
AKÇAM Zekeriya, Turkey, LDR
ALEURAS Athanasios, Greece, SOC
ARABADJIEV Alexander, Bulgaria, SOC
ATES Abdülkadir, Turkey, SOC
BINDIG Rudolf, Germany, SOC
CILEVICS Boriss, Latvia, SOC
GÜNDÜZ Süleyman, Turkey, LDR
HERKEL Andres, Estonia, EPP/CD
HOLOVATY Serhiy, Ukraine, LDR
HUSEYNOV Rafael, Azerbaijan, LDR
JURGENS Erik, Netherlands, SOC
KROLL Henryk, Poland, EPP/CD
KROUPA Frantiek, Czech Republic, EPP/CD
LINTNER Eduard, Germany, EPP/CD
LLOYD Tony, United Kingdom, SOC
MARTY Dick, Switzerland, LDR
PANGALOS Theodoros, Greece, SOC
POURGOURIDES Christos, Cyprus, EPP/CD
TKÁC Vojtech, Slovakia, EDG
WOHLWEND Renate, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD
Total = 21
Group of the European Peoples Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group