UN urges Trump not to reinstate torture policies

Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, on Jan. 30 urged US President Donald Trump not to reinstate torture policies. Melzer referenced the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee Report (PDF), which stated that the Central Intelligence Agency's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence" and "rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness." Melzer criticized Trump's pledge to reinstate torture by asserting that "waterboarding" is a form of torture, that the use of torture is not legally or morally acceptable, and that the use of torture is prohibited by the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Geneva Conventions. Melzer concluded:

If the new Administration were to revive the use of torture, however, the consequences around the world would be catastrophic. … Should Mr. Trump follow through on all of his pledges, more countries are likely to follow his lead and get back into the torture business—an ultimate disgrace for all of humanity.

From Jurist, Jan. 30. Used with permission.
Note: President Trump in comments to the media last week said "torture…works, absolutely." He cited ISIS use of torture and said "we have to fight fire with fire." (CNN, Jan. 25) These echo his comments from last year that "torture works… Believe me, it works." (WP, Feb. 17, 2016) However, he now says he will defer to CIA director Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis on the matter. Both have expressed their disagreement with Trump on the use of torture. (The Hill, Jan. 25)