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Torture

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2009

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Intention, Torture, And The Concept Of State Crime, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2009

Intention, Torture, And The Concept Of State Crime, Aditi Bagchi

All Faculty Scholarship

Notwithstanding the universal prohibition against torture, and almost universal agreement that in order to qualify as torture, the act in question must be committed intentionally with an illicit purpose, the intentional element of torture remains ambiguous. I make the following claims about how we should interpret the intent requirement as applied to states. First, state intent should be understood objectively with reference to the apparent reasons for state action. The subjective motivation of particular state actors is not directly relevant. While we focus on subjective intent in the context of individual crime because of its relation to culpability and blameworthiness, …