|KHRP Legal Team Meeting Tackles Changing Definitions of Torture|
KHRP held its annual Legal Team meeting at Pump Court Chambers in London on 24 June, with discussions focusing on the changing definition of torture in the context of the so-called ‘War on Terror’.
Legal Team member Nicholas Stewart QC gave a presentation which began by outlining the definitions of torture given in key international human rights instruments and the approach taken by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), whose landmark ruling in the KHRP-assisted case of Aydın v.Turkey made clear that judgements about whether a particular episode of abuse counts as torture must take into account contextual factors such as the age of the victim. He compared and contrasted this international legal framework with the highly-publicised memos between senior United States officials in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, which set out a narrow definition of torture and concluded that controversial methods such as ‘waterboarding’ and lengthy periods of sleep deprivation do not qualify. Subsequent discussions considered the ways in which US policy on ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ could influence future casework on torture.
The meeting also featured opening remarks by KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yıldız and a talk by Acting Legal Officer Saadiya Chaudary outlining KHRP’s activities over the past year, including recent ECtHR casework.
‘KHRP’s Legal Team plays a crucial role in so many aspects of our work, from delivering trainings in the Kurdish regions, to drafting legal cases and attending court hearings,’ said Kerim Yıldız. ‘We take this opportunity to thank all members for lending us their support and expertise, and look forward to many more successes together in the future.’