Daily Archives: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Psychology and torture – a literature overview

UEL Library - Psychology Blog

Capitol Hill at Night (c/o Jeff Nickel on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Content warning: some of the materials referred to below may contain content that some may find distressing.

There has been a lot of media coverage of the US Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture since the publication of the summary yesterday. One of many areas of controversy has been the role of psychologists in assisting the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, as well as the position taken by the American Psychological Association (APA).

So, where can you find out more about this story, the position of the APA and its UK equivalent, the British Psychological Society (BPS)?

Definitions of Torture

  • The International Criminal Court Act (2001) sets out the definition of ‘torture’ in relation to the UK’s obligations regarding the International Criminal Court (a separate Act applies to Scotland):

…the intentional infliction of severe pain…

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News Stories (Daily) 01/07/2015

  • “Following the announcement in July that the records of the United Nations War Crimes Commission were made open to the public for the first time in 70 years, a panel discussion examining the historical significance and potential use of the records was held this afternoon at UN Headquarters in New York.

    The records of the UN War Crimes Commission, which was operational between 1943 and 1948 and played a vital role in preparation for the war crimes trials that followed the Second World War, were made open to the public this past July at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

    Speaking at the panel discussion, United Nations War Crimes Commission Records (1943-1949): Past, Present and Future, Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, underscored the importance of acknowledging the Commission’s legacy in terms of dealing with war crimes today.”


  • “In the United States, where the Armenian issue is most prominent, 42 states have recognized the events as genocide. Yet, in his eagerly anticipated statements every April 24, President Barack Obama has used the expression “meds yeghern,” which means “great calamity” in Armenian, rather than the word “genocide.” Serving his second term free from the pressures of re-election, Obama is unlikely to alter his usual language in 2015. The Republicans, who took control of the Senate in midterm elections Nov. 4, appear to stand closer to Turkey on the Armenian issue, provided Turkey mends fences with Israel.”


  • “A new report from Montenegro’s interior ministry said that of the 16,000 refugees and displaced people who have been living in the country since the 1990s conflicts, only 1,038 have managed to obtain citizenship.

    The country has one of the strictest citizenship regimes in the region and it also prohibits dual citizenship.”


  • “Myanmar has drafted plans that would offer the Rohingya minority the chance of citizenship if they change their ethnicity. But HRW’s Phil Robertson tells DW he believes the move could force thousands to flee the country. “


  • “Behind the blitz of airstrikes and land battles in Syria, an unseen army is hunting for special spoils of war: pieces of paper, including military orders, meeting minutes, prison records and any other documents that could help build cases for future prosecutions.

    Several Western governments, including those of the United States and Britain, are financing two separate teams of investigators searching for evidence needed to establish criminal liability in any future war crimes trials. It is important, diplomats say, that the teams and their local operatives search for documents while the conflict is being waged.”


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.