Selected Russian links on Torture

On this page we have collected useful links in Russian. The text on this page is in English but the text in the links are all in Russian. This is because our server does not support Russian letters. Sorry for the inconvenience.


Torture is according the United Nations Convention Against Torture “...any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

Torture in any form and for any reason has been banned by international law, but it is still practiced on a million people each year around the world. Survivors of torture are found everywhere. Victims of torture and their families need rehabilitation to make it possible for them to re-establish control over their lives.

Conventions
Definition
History, methods and effects of torture
Human Rights Bodies
Guidelines and Information
Organizations working with different aspects of torture, and other helpful websites

Conventions

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Definition

  • Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
    This article comes along with a solid definition of torture, and a short but comprehensive summary of several topics concerning torture. Here to mention rights, instruments of protection, some links to guidelines for advocacy, educational and training materials. Useful. – Human Rights Education Associates, HREA.
  • Torture
    Article on torture in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, with some good links to further information and other websites.
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History, methods and effects of torture

Torture was used as an instrument in trials of criminal law already in the mediaeval times f.e. in Europe, dating back to Roman Law where it was first only used on slaves. The law in the mediaeval times didn`t accept signs or indications (although credible), neither the testimony of only one witness, it needed either a confession or two witnesses. So the torture was meant not as punishment but as a method to detect the truth. It came in use more and more also because of a change in criminal law. In former times a crime became a court case only if some private person accused the criminal, which was not sufficient in times of increased criminality, so the law had to be changed in order to give the authorities the opportunity to start an investigation by themselves. At first torture was used quite at random, and not in all Europe allowed by law. In Germany f.e. therefore in 1532 there was a statute enacted to regulate torture. So torture was only allowed in case of there was already half-proof against the accused. The accused person had to confirm the testimony one day after the torture, only then it was accepted in court. Nevertheless also these rules collapsed completely for example during the inquisition and the witch-trials, were torture just was used until the favored testimony was given. England for example didn`t allow torture by law, but nevertheless torture was used to gain testimonies.

The effects of torture are manifold and almost always severe. There are physical injuries that may remain, as chronic pain syndromes, muscle and skeleton damages, brain injuries with post traumatic epilepsy, infections, sexually transmitted diseases. In the recent years is has come more in focus that also the psychological effects are severe, sometimes more serious than the physical ones. To name here PTSD (post-traumatic stress disease) in all its varieties, depression, panic disorders. (We are working on a Russian thematic about PTSD).

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Human Rights Bodies

To offer expertise and support to the different human rights monitoring mechanisms in the United Nations system, is the function of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). There are to distinguish two different kinds of bodies in general: some UN Charter-based bodies (these including the Human Rights Council), and on the other hand the treaty-based bodies. The latter have been created under the international human rights treaties, and consist of independent experts. They are mandated to monitor State parties` compliance with their treaty obligations. Most of these bodies get secretariat support from the OHCHR.

  • European Court of Human Rights.
    The Court was established in 1959, headquarter in Strasbourg/France. It rules on individual or State application alleging violations of the civil or political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (no special focus on torture, which is part of the whole). Her you will find a simplified version of the convention in Russian:

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Guidelines, therapeutic aspects and other Information

Here we present a collection of guidelines and articles more specific in approaching therapeutic aspects. Almost all torture victims suffer of severe consequences. There are lots of physical and psychological damages to take care of, amongst the latter as the most important distress PTSD. So the treatment is mainly the same as the approach for PTSD, taking into account the origin of this PTSD.

  • Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel,Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (The Istanbul Protocol)
    The manual gives a very broad, solid guideline on all aspects of torture. We find a summary on relevant ethical codes, as well as guidelines for investigation of torture-victims/cases. There is a summary on possible physical evidence which includes a description of the most used torture methods. A very useful and solid chapter on psychological damages is included as well as forms for investigation for print-out. – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR, 2004.
  • Ending Torture: A Handbook For Public Officials.
  • Implementing victims' rights
    A Handbook on the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation.
  • The Torture Reporting Handbook Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. 2000.
    A reference guide for anyone who wishes to know how to take action in response to allegations of torture or ill-treatment. It explains simply and clearly how the process of reporting and submitting complaints to international bodies and mechanisms actually works, and how to make the most of it: how you might go about documenting allegations, what you can do with the information once it has been collected, how to choose between the various mechanisms according to your particular objectives, and how to present your information in a way which makes it most likely that you will obtain a response.
  • Torture Survivors' Handbook
    The CCVT presents on its website a useful collection of definitions, publications and links, publications and links.
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Organizations working with different aspects of torture, and other helpful websites


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