Book Reviews

Book Review: Why not Torture Terrorists? Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the ‘Ticking Bomb’Justification for Torture

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By Yuval Ginbar

New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-954091-4, 414 pp., £ 75.00(hb.)


By Dr. Murat Tumay | 15 April 2010

After the atrocities of World War II the International community achieved the immensedevelopment in the protection of Fundamental Freedoms and Rights of Man which wetoday call Human Rights Law. The prohibition of torture is guaranteed by all Global andRegional Human Rights Instruments. Furthermore, the prohibition of torture and ill treatmentis absolute and has even non-derogable status in human rights law. The statescan not set aside or restrict this obligation, in any circumstances, even in times of waror other emergency threatening the life of the nation. According to the InternationalLaw there is no justification for torture in any circumstances, against any individual, byany authority, anywhere in the world. However, because of the widespread terrorist activities, particularly after the 11 September 2001 events some state agents andacademics reopened the question of torturing in ‘ticking bomb situation (TBS)’ toextract information about the ‘ticking bomb’ and save the lives of many other civilians.This has resulted in a lively debate in political and academic circles.



This timely book by Yuval Ginbar who works as a Legal Advisor to Amnesty International and senior Advisor to Public Committee against Torture in Israel is an attempt toanswer the question: Should twenty-first century democratic states facing terrorismuse torture in the interrogation of terrorist suspects, at least in extreme, ‘ticking bombsituations’? And strongly argues and the gives the answer NO.



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* Published in the First Issue of Journal of Global Analysis (JGA).

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