. "Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment." International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies: Proceedings - Symposium and Seventh Biennial Meeting, London, May 18-20, 2005. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies
the United States, in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, for example, is trying to avoid language in the resolution on torture that focuses too strongly on cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. What would happen if there were an attempt to rewrite the Torture Convention or the Geneva Conventions? The United States would have a very influential role in making sure that, if anything, things went backward rather than forward to the extent they wanted them to go backward rather than forward.
Wiesel – I don’t want to criticize the whole country, but there are problems here as well, so both the United States and Britain have used methods that would not be condoned.
Question – Lawyers take both sides, and we are arguing that one takes one side and the other defends the other one. You are saying that, according to the U.N. conventions—I don’t understand them—you have a suspect and you want to get information from him and he refuses to speak. What do you do? How do you get that information? I’m not condoning these things. If you want to get information from a suspect, but you are not allowed to do certain things to get that information, and he refuses completely to speak, what is the next thing to do?
Rodley – The next thing is to try and find professional ways of getting the evidence. There is a human right not to be compelled to testify against oneself. There is a human right of the presumption of innocence. One thing you do not do is coerce people into testifying if they don’t want to speak. That is the answer to your question. There is no next thing. The next thing, if it is done, that you may have in mind, is likely to be a crime committed by law enforcement officials, and that is not a very good way of bringing about respect for the law.