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The United Nations Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol (2nd Edition): A Commentary

Edited by Manfred Nowak, Moritz Birk, Giuliana Monina

Previous Edition (1 ed.)


The first edition of this book was written during the so-called ‘war on terror’ (2004–2006), which undermined the universal consensus on the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Since then, several important developments in the field have been seen. There has been a considerable change in the ratification status of both the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol. Since 2008, the Convention against Torture Committee has adopted three new General Comments; more than 200 new individual complaints covering all substantial articles; new rules of procedure as well as conducted four new inquiry procedures under Article 20 of the Convention against Torture. In relation to the Optional Protocol, this second edition contains a detailed analysis of the initial ten years of work of the SPT taking into account the work of national preventive mechanisms. The book has been revised to reflect these changes. It still attempts to be an in-depth analysis of all substantive, organizational and procedural provisions of the Convention and its Optional Protocol and continues to serve as a comprehensive guide, and it is now more user friendly, providing a more concise analysis. There has been considerable revision, reorganization, and expansion of many articles. However, it leaves untouched the thorough analysis of the travaux préparatoires of the Convention and its Optional Protocol in the Commission on Human Rights and its inter-sessional Working Group. The book concludes that the ‘war on terror’ seems to be over, but the practice of torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment has certainly not improved since then.

Bibliographic Information

Manfred Nowak, editor

Moritz Birk, editor

Giuliana Monina, editor