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ERIC Number: EJ891493
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Justifying Torture: Explaining Democratic States' Noncompliance with International Humanitarian Law
Kanstroom, Emily
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v14 p51-95 Mar 2007
On June 28, 1951, France ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which prohibited the torture of prisoners of war. On August 2, 1955, the United States of America ratified the same document. Between 1954 and 1962, France fought a war against Algeria, which sought its independence from colonial rule. From September 11, 2001 until the present, the United States has been engaged in what its government has termed "The Global War on Terror," which has involved wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and holding detainees for interrogation at Guantanamo Bay. Although the two cases must be distinguished from one another based on different situational, ideological, and historical characteristics, there are critical commonalities. This study focuses on two distinct research questions: first, what explains the rationale by which France and the United States, two democratic states, violated international and domestic law by torturing prisoners of war? Second, how did these two states justify this noncompliance? This article engages the question of how international humanitarian law (IHL) operates or fails to operate in constraining state actors. This article illuminates some of the challenges IHL faces today in ensuring state compliance. (Contains 119 notes.)
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Afghanistan; Algeria; France; Iraq; United States