Mens Rea of Crime of Torture in Light of International Criminal Court

Document Type : Original Article


1 Law Department, Najaf Abad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najaf Abad, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Law and Political Science Faculty, Allameh Tabataba’i University-Tehran-Iran


Meeting a crime beside the material element needs the mental element namely general purpose and in some crimes special purpose. For this reason, article 1 of convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (1984) provides meeting torture requires, beside act intention, special purpose such as obtaining information or confession. Some tribunals such as ICTY and ICTR considers this article as a customary rule and their interpretations form torture has been based upon this article, but the European court of human rights in some its judgments tend to treat torture as a material or absolute crime. The statute of ICC also in article 7 (2) (e) – in crimes against humanity- treat torture as a material crime. Although it seems this view is the most comprehensive form of prohibition of torture, statute, immediately, in article 8 (2) (a) (2) and (2)(c)(1), unlike article 7 without providing any certain definition of torture, classifies this crime as a war crime and also preparatory commission of statute believes that existence of special purpose is necessary for meeting torture as a war crimes. Therefore, it seems criminal justice necessitates that special purpose must be removed from constituting elements of crime of torture.


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