CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENTSenate Consideration of Treaty Document 100-20
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- The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988.
Date Received from President
- United Nations
Latest Senate Action
Resolution of advice and consent to ratification agreed to in Senate with amendments by Division Vote.
- Human Rights
Text - Resolution of Ratification: Senate Consideration of Treaty Document 100-20All Information (Except Treaty Text)
TEXT OF RESOLUTION OF ADVICE AND CONSENT TO RATIFICATION AS REPORTED BY THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS:
@Resolved, (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), #That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988,
I. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:
(1) That the United States shall implement the Convention to the extent that the Federal Government exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered therein; to the extent that constituent units exercise jurisdiction over such matters, the Federal Government shall take appropriate measures, to the end that the competent authorities of the constituent units may take appropriate measures for the fulfillment of this Convention.
(2) That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under Article 16 to prevent "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," only insofar as the term "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
(3) That pursuant to Article 30(2) the United States declares that it does not consider itself bound by Article 30(1), but reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.
II. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:
(1) (a) That with reference to Article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from: (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.
(b) That the United States understands that the definition of torture in Article 1 is intended to apply only to acts directed against persons in the offender's custody or physical control.
(c) That with reference to Article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that "sanctions" includes judically-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law provided that such sanctions or actions are not clearly prohibited under international law.
(d) That with reference to Article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that the term"acquiescence" requires that the public official, prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity.
(e) That with reference to Article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards does no per se constitute torture.
(2) That the United States understands the phrase, "where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture," as used in Article 3 of the Convention, to mean "if it is more likely than not that h e would be tortured."
(3) That it is the understanding of the United States that Article 14 requires a State Party to provide a private right of action for damages only for acts of torture committed in territory under the jurisdiction of that State Party.
(4) That the United States understands that international law does not prohibit the death penalty, and does not consider this Convention to restrict or prohibit the United States from applying the death penalty consistent with the Fifth, Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, including any constitutional period of confinement prior to the imposition of the death penalty.
III. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following declarations:
(1) That the United States declares that the provisions of Articles 1 through 16 of the Convention are not self-executing.
(2) That the United States declares, pursuant to Article 21, paragraph 1, of the Convention, that it recognizes the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider communications to the effect that a State Party claims that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention. It is the understanding of the United States that, pursuant to the above mentioned article, such communications shall be accepted and processed only if they come from a State Party which has made a similar declaration.