The Treatment of Prisoners Under International Law (3rd edition)

ISBN : 9780199693566

Nigel Rodley; Matt Pollard
752 Pages
162 x 235 mm
Pub date
Apr 2011
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This is the third edition of the pioneering work that has become the standard text in the field. The first edition was one of the earliest to establish that the newly-developing international law of human rights could be set down as any other branch of international law. It also incorporates the complementary fields of international humanitarian law and international criminal law, while addressing the problems associated with their interaction with human rights law. The book is more than a descriptive analysis of the field. It acknowledges areas of unclarity or where developments may be embryonic. Solutions are offered. Recent developments have confirmed the value of solutions proposed in this edition and the previous one. Central to most of the chapters is the human rights norm of most salience in the treatment of prisoners, namely, the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The early chapters focus on the period of first detention, when detainees are most at risk of having information or confessions, however unreliable, extracted by unlawful means. Voices contemplating the legitimacy of such treatment to combat terrorism have been heard in the wake of the atrocities of 11 September 2001. The book finds that the evidence clearly suggests that the absolute prohibition of such treatment remains firm. Other chapters deal with problems of poor prison conditions and of certain extraordinary penalties, notably corporal and capital punishment. A chapter explores ethical codes for members of professions capable of inflicting or preventing the prohibited behaviour (police and medical and legal professionals). Chapters are also devoted to the extreme practice of enforced disappearance and the contribution of the new convention on this phenomenon, as well as to extra-legal executions.


General Introduction
1. The Response of the United Nations General Assembly to the Challenge of Torture
2. The Legal Prohibition of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
3. What Constitutes Torture and Other Ill-Treatment?
4. The Legal Consequences of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
5. International Mechanisms against Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
6. Extra-legal Executions
7. The Death Penalty
8. Enforced Disappearance of Prisoners: Unacknowledged Detention
9. Conditions of Imprisonment or Detention
10. Corporal Punishment
11. Guarantees against Abuses of the Human Person: Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
12. International Codes of Ethics for Professionals
Concluding Reflections

About the author: 

Sir Nigel Rodley KBE, PhD is Professor of Law and Chair of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He is an elected member of the UN Human Rights Committee, established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He is also a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists. He has taught in North America and the UK. He founded Amnesty International's Legal Office in 1973 and ran it till 1990. He was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture from 1993 to 2001. His work for Amnesty International and the United Nations allowed him to participate in the development of the field covered by the book. He was knighted in the 1998/1999 New Year's Honours 'for services to human rights and international law'.; Matt Pollard is Legal adviser to Amnesty International in London and the Association for the Prevention of Torture in Geneva.

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