State Emergency - is torture ever justifibale? : Reflections from deontologist and consequentialist perspectives.

University essay from Växjö universitet/Institutionen för samhällsvetenskap

Abstract: Abstract The ban against torture is part of customary international law and is prohibited under all circumstances. Nevertheless, torture is conducted by nearly 150 countries all over the world,according to Amnesty International. Torture often serves as a means for governments to protect themselves from internal and external threats to the security of the state apparatus. The research problem seeks to investigate whether torture is ever justifiable when a nation finds itself in an emergency situation. This dilemma is examined through two moral theories, deontology and consequentialism, which are the two most debated theories in this context. This research investigates three case countries; USA, Israel and Argentina, all of which have resorted to violent interrogation/ torture of detainees under national security situations. In the analysis chapter, an examination of the two moral theories´ interpretations in each case country’s policy of violent interrogation / torture is carried out. The study was conducted using qualitative methods, idea analysis and the case study method. In conclusion, the deontologist perspective takes an absolutist approach, in which torture is never justifiable, whereas the consequentialist perspective deems torture to be justifiable in cases such as the “ticking bomb,” where many innocent lives may be saved. A further debate regarding the issue of torture and justifiability is needed, unless debated and questions are raised regarding the use of torture, we merely drive torture underground.

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