What the Convention Says
The Convention Against Torture is an international treaty which is administered by the United Nations. The convention defines torture as any act which intentionally causes pain or suffering for the purposes of obtaining information or compelling actions (Part I, Article I, 1).
It is still torture (and this against the convention) even if national laws (Part I, Article I, 2) or superior officers or other authorities call for it (Part I, Article II, 3). Additionally, it is still torture (and against the convention) regardless what circumstances exist (Part I, Article II, 2). That is to say that torture is still illegal when an war or during other emergencies.
Is it Applicable to the US?
Yes. The United States is one of the parties, having ratified it in 1994.
Would the US Be Breaching the Convention?
- We are a state party to the convention, which means it applies to us.
- The convention forbids torture under all circumstances.
- We would be performing torture under the definition of the convention.