The Signature of Evil

(Re)Defining Torture in International Law

By Steven Dewulf

In The Signature of Evil, the notion of torture in international law is explored with the intention of discovering the precise meaning of this most infamous, and yet still very prevalent, practice. By digesting a wealth of international legal sources - and combining this with personal field research and a look at the historical, philosophical, cultural, political, and social background of torture's use and abolition - this book's first ambition is to define the term. This leads to an extensive and impressive overview in which torture's constituent elements are carefully identified, thoroughly and meticulously scrutinized, and critically evaluated. On the basis of this synthesis and analysis - in which all possible uncertainties, problems, and evolutions are highlighted and discussed - a redefinition is proposed, which does not shy away from setting foot on new terrain and trying what might be revolutionary roads. Some thought provoking ideas are suggested - and at times controversial choices are made - but all this is done in order to attain one all-important goal: enhancing torture's absolute and non-derogable prohibition, as well as strengthening the international legal framework against unlawful abuse. On May 4, 2012 the Prof. Giuseppe Ciardi Foundation awarded its 2012 scientific prize to Steven Dewulf for his book The Signature of Evil. The Ciardi Prize is awarded annually to a substantial and original study dealing with military law, law of war or any matter connected with or related to the aforementioned.


638 pages

Publication Date: 12/30/2011
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781780680217