UK Troops Complicit in Torture 'Must Be Brought to Justice' FORMER UN AMBASSADOR SPEAKS OUT ON ARMED FORCES DAY: 'Torture Is Illegal in War or in Peace - Its Use Is Immoral and Demeans Us All'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 26, 2010 | Go to article overview

UK Troops Complicit in Torture 'Must Be Brought to Justice' FORMER UN AMBASSADOR SPEAKS OUT ON ARMED FORCES DAY: 'Torture Is Illegal in War or in Peace - Its Use Is Immoral and Demeans Us All'


Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON

BRITISH troops complicit in torture in war zones must be brought to justice, a former ambassador to the UN claims today.

On Armed Forces Day, Sir Emyr Jones Parry says allegations that British forces took part in torture must be fully investigated.

The leading former diplomat now chairs the anti-torture charity dress. In an exclusive essay for WalesOnline, he writes: "Torture spreads like an insidious virus wherever it is allowed to take hold. Torture is illegal in war or in peace, forbidden by Geneva Conventions and by the UN Convention.

"Its use is immoral and demeans us all. It is seldom effective as the victim will tend to say anything to stop the pain. It dehumanises, lowers moral standards and undermines civilisation and the rule of law. "If we believe that terrorists cannot be allowed to destroy our way of life, then we cannot resort to barbarity in order to tackle terrorism.

" Today is also the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture and Sir Emyr is adamant the UK must not respond to the threat of terrorism by adopting such techniques. Dismissing the suggestion that torture could be useful in a "ticking bomb" scenario, he says: "Some would seek to justify torture if it produces information to stop an imminent attack. In practice those situations are most improbable - good intelligence is much more likely to avert an outrage. "Moreover torture is counterproductive and inevitably encourages others to align themselves with the victim.

" Sir Emyr, who chaired the recent All Wales Convention and is president of Aberystwyth University, applauds US President Barack Obama's decision to outlaw the use of torture, but warns the UK must ensure its own house is in order. He writes: "President Obama set the standard in ordering the end of the use of torture by the United States, a response to the previous administration which had legitimised water boarding, the simulated drowning of the person being interrogated.

"The UK is also not immune from the practice of torture." Sir Emyr highlights a finding by the European Court of Human Rights that tactics used in Northern Ireland such as hooding and deprivation of sleep, food and water violated the European Convention's prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. …

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UK Troops Complicit in Torture 'Must Be Brought to Justice' FORMER UN AMBASSADOR SPEAKS OUT ON ARMED FORCES DAY: 'Torture Is Illegal in War or in Peace - Its Use Is Immoral and Demeans Us All'
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