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The Line between Cruelty and Torture


Ireland v United Kingdom [1978]


The Government of the Republic of Ireland claimed that these methods infringed Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). They also claimed that the practices amounted to torture in violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the ECHR. The Court held that although the 5 techniques amounted to a practice of “inhuman and degrading treatment", which practice was in breach of Article 3, “they did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture”. In 2014, upon uncovering more evidence, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade sought to revise the Court’s judgment. The request for revision was dismissed by the Court in 2018.


Written by: Aathira Prakash Menon, 4th Year LLB Student at the University of Edinburgh, Intern at S. Bhambri and Associates.


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