The absolute and non-derogatory prohibition of torture is embedded in almost every international or regional human rights instrument that deals with civil rights. However, this ban witnesses a diversion between theory and practice. While this diversion is comprehendible in authoritarian states, democratic regimes also implement it in some instances. This usage notably arose in the wake of the 11th of September 2001 and the accompanying usage of physical coercion in the interrogation processes. Simultaneously, some scattered, though notable, scholarly voices started challenging the absolute prohibition against torture. This pro-torture school of thought echoed in some legislative and executive works. The judiciary, as well, was in a complicated situation between preserving its heritage in defending human rights and its role in preserving state security. Such a hardship was reflected in the language of the verdicts. The sum of these scholarly, legislative, executive, and judicial momentum was still minor and could not change the well- established absolute prohibition. This paper argues that the denial of absolute prohibition has existed forever and will continue to exist. The 9/11 incidents only brought it to the surface. I further dispute the effectiveness of the focus on absolute prohibition as an effective tool to curb torture with all the hard cases it raises.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Law Department

Degree Name

LLM in International and Comparative Law

Graduation Date

Winter 2-15-2025

Submission Date


First Advisor

Jason Beckett

Committee Member 1

Thomas Skouteris

Committee Member 2

Hany Sayed


95 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item

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