Feelings on marking Torture Victims Day for Contra Nocendi is always something that cuts across the spectrum of emotions. Working with victims, we are troubled by their suffering and the lengthy legal process that can be required to confront their abusers, yet left without words that adequately express the strength that victims show when they demand accountability so that others do not go through what they have. We have also seen security officials grow in their concern for victims of torture and have seen the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights show the human rights community true leadership by adopting guidelines on reparations for victims of torture. The first source of international human rights law on such matters.
The act of torture, under international law, is not permissible under any circumstance. As a jus cogens norm, there is no legally permissible excuse for the use of torture. There is no need for a lengthy argument padded by legalese to make this point. The prohibition of torture is a natural development in response to the very horrific act that is torture. It should be this cut and dry.
Unfortunately we still see torture as a very serious issue. Some countries do not have the international norm effectively including in their national legislation, while others do not give effect to the norm in a way that is meaningful in the everyday life of their citizens. The use of torture as a means to extract evidence during a criminal investigation does not always lead to exclusion of that evidence during criminal proceedings despite the evidence being fruit from the forbidden tree (Redress and Fair Trials have a very important new report on this: https://fairtrials.org/news/new-report-reveals-torture-evidence-still-routinely-used-around-world).
On Torture Victims Day, Contra Nocendi International stands up for the prohibition of torture and vows to continue its support for victims of torture. There is no place in society for the use of torture and we will keep pushing that point through advocating for its practical prohibition at every opportunity and by continuing to be a strong voice for victims of torture.