New Definition of the Torture: Psychological Torture

Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, significant works have been carried out on the protection of human rights at the international level and specifically the prohibition of torture. However, the interpretation of the definition of the torture needs to be redefined more clearly and specifically.

This determination is necessary when the discordance with current developments taken into consideration. Developing methods of torture are high on the agenda. The torture that causes coercion, intimidation, punishment, humiliation or discrimination without causing readily identifiable physical harm or traces should be added to the definition of the torture. These developments are also noted by the Special Rapporteur from the UN Human Rights Council. The Rapporteur says that new challenges should be taken into account while interpreting the definition of torture to reach the effective and sufficient implementation of the prohibiton of the torture.

The report analysis the outlines of elements that constitute the physical torture. These elements are severe pain or suffering, intentionality, purposefulness and powerlessness. The act of the torture results in intense pain or suffering in the victim because of psychological suffering cause the physical problems; where the torturer knows the result of the act and the will of torturer is to force or manipulate the victim meanwhile the victim feel the powerlessness by the threats or a deprivation of the legal rights.

The most common developing methods of torture are the “fear” and “attacks on one’s ability to exercise self-control”. The Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights share the approach that intentional ve purposeful infliction of fear are key features of psychological torture. Moreover, overexposure of light, music, odors, the temperature that causes mental stress, blocks clear thinking and results in the subsequent irritability, anger, exhaustion, and despair is the attack on one’s ability to exercise self-control.

Finally, the report underlines that physical and psychological torture are both violations of international human rights.

Legal Intern Tuba Kızılkaya
Güneş & Güneş Law Firm