Closing the gap on the torture trade
by Joëlle A. Trampert
2D Structure of Sodium thiopental, a pharmaceutical chemical employed in lethal injection execution. Source: Pubchem, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information (https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/23665410)
The prohibition of torture is codified in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the regional human rights treaties. It has also been accepted as an international human rights norm of ius cogens. The Convention Against Torture (‘CAT’) obliges the 171 States party to the treaty to prevent and punish torture, and refrain from expelling, refouling or extraditing a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. But as Ambassador Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, remarked in his introductory speech for the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade online event last December, ‘there is no rule at the international level to regulate the trade in goods used for torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (…).’ More...