Introduction to 'Torture as Tort: From Sudan to Canada to Somalia'
TORTURE AS TORT: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LITIGATION, Craig Scott, ed., pp. 3-44, Oxford Hart Publishing, 2001
46 Pages Posted: 15 May 2010
Date Written: 2001
The present work is chapter 1 of the edited volume, Torture as Tort: Comparative Perspectives on the Development of Transnational Human Rights Litigation (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2001). At the time the book was generated, the controversial nature of seeking globalised justice through national courts had become starkly apparent in the wake of the Pinochet case in which the Spanish legal system sought extradition of the former President of Chile from the United Kingdom in order to bring him to account under Spanish criminal law for a variety of alleged violations in Chile of human rights, most notably involving torture. Yet, the international legal and associated statutory bases for such criminal prosecutions were both well understood in legal doctrine and well entrenched in many states’ legal systems, in comparison to transnational civil liability for human rights violations. This book set out to address the civil liability side of accountability for human rights violations.
When Torture as Tort was published, there had been very little treatment, let alone a comprehensive assessment, of the merits and demerits of US-style transnational human rights litigation by non-American legal scholars and practitioners. The book seeks not so much to fill this gap as to start the process of doing so, with a view to stimulating debate amongst scholars and policy-makers. The volume consisted of 26 chapters divided into six thematic parts, written by 30 scholars (all non-American); the table of contents is reproduced at the end of this abstract. The objective of the book was, and remains, to generate doctrinal, theoretical, and policy-relevant inquiry over the question of the feasibility and legitimacy of transnational human rights litigation.
The present “Introduction to Torture as Tort: From Sudan to Canada to Somalia” consists of a narrative and analytical roadmap of the topics covered and arguments developed in the 25 chapters that follow the present one. It is organized into sub-sections that correspond to each thematic Part in the book (again, see the table of contents reproduced below). After this roadmap, an additional subsection places the overall book project into the concrete context of the first tort case to come before a Canadian court that involves allegations of torture in another country, Arone v. Canada.
Keywords: Torture, tort, human rights, transnational human rights litigation
JEL Classification: K3, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation