10:44 PM«Malleus Maleficarum» of modern society: preconditions and prevalence of torture in XXI century and the policy of combating torture
The main idea of this paper refers to the resumption of torture as a phenomenon in ХХ century and also the spread of this undoubtedly disgusting phenomenon in the new Millennium. It is it linked to the category of «security», which has become a pagan cult of modern society.
We believe that the views of Michel Foucault and Stanley Cohen on «net widening» can explain expansion of the phenomenon of torture in the XXI century through increased variations of classes and types of deviants for the aims of «security».
On the one hand, national criminal justice systems cannot cope with dealing with numerous deviants within the framework of formal national legal procedures.
On the other hand, citizens born at the time of III and, more importantly, IV modulation of social control demand more «security», so the ways and methods of achieving the appropriate level of security do not longer matter. This is confirmed by numerous sociological studies and surveys in Europe and North America showing that one third to one half of citizens allow the use of torture against terrorists for the sake of «security». All this happens in a context of total social control over space and thoughts.
However, the main danger is that the practical possibility of torturing «terrorists» opens a «Pandora's box» to a wide prospect of torture against other «dangerous criminals» – sex offenders, members of organized crime groups, etc. And this list tends to be expanded.
It can be concluded that the «fight against torture» in XXI century is a reflection of a dualistic process: an attempt to develop «secure society» with a simultaneous fiasco of the nature of such «security».
The use of torture on suspects is unfortunately happens even in Western democracies, but the extensive system of legal safeguards established in the second half of XX century has helped to make the use of torture and inhuman treatment as rare as possible. It becomes possible due to activities of the Council of Europe, the CPT and the ECtHR (including through the expansion of the concepts of «torture» and «inhuman treatment»).
It is worth emphasizing that torture is not a legal category, but primarily a political and economic one. Analysis of the phenomenon of torture within the formal framework of national criminal justice systems only is dangerous given also the highly questionable effectiveness and efficiency of torture.
Recalling E. Durkheim and R. Merton on indicators of deviance and crime, which indicate the state of anomie in society of the XXI century, it should be emphasized that the state of anomie largely depends on the saturation of the political body of modern society with the phenomenon of torture. In case of other types of crimes, the state tries to reduce the appropriate level of crime to a certain normal rate, influencing relevant individuals. However, in case of torture, we must point out that torture itself is one of the most dangerous forms of crime, committed mostly by agents of a state, on behalf of a state, using the powers granted by a state to achieve what they claim is in the public interest. That is why the fight against torture is often when, unfortunately, «the snake bites itself on the tail». And this is quite important problem for future researches.
Therefore, the fight against torture should not be narrowly linked to policemen, prosecutors, judges or punishments. The fight against torture is not also linked to crime detection rates. This should be considered, first of all, in a context of anti-discrimination, human rights, protection of social diversity and the rights of relevant social groups, migration and social policy, transparency of public administration and accountability of law enforcement agencies, fair redistribution of income in society, state support for victims of violent crimes.
Today it is a common view that «torture is committed in an atmosphere of secrecy and does not like light». Therefore, prevention of torture starts with the policy of maximum openness of law enforcement agencies and complete, comprehensive, constantly updated state statistics on torture (unfortunately, it is almost non-existent in Ukraine). It is no coincidence that the European Parliament's resolution on torture by the CIA in Europe placed special emphasis on accountability: «Accountability for extraordinary renditions, abductions, illegal secret detentions and torture is essential in order to protect and promote human rights effectively, and to ensure legitimate and effective security policies based on the rule of law».
In addition, zero tolerance for torture culture and careful selection of law enforcement officers should be paramount, where moral categories need to be an important part of professional compliance. Moreover, «moral» must be supported by message that torture does not work for the purpose of investigating crimes and also has great negative psychological effect, both for victims of torture and for state agents who open this «Pandora's box». Numerous studies show that only moral arguments are effective in motivating people to resist torture.
An important question must be put: can torture be considered necessary to perform any of the tasks facing modern states to protect societies?
Given the moral and ethical issues, we can express a strong negative answer. Given the more pragmatic arguments put forward by proponents of so called «enhanced interrogation techniques», it should be emphasized that even the alleged pragmatism is broken down into facts that indicate that information obtained under torture is often not, in fact, reliable information, and the price of such information will be too high both for the perpetrators themselves and for the taxpayers who internally support torture.
Paper can be downloaded here
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