Friday, January 18, 2008

On January 18, ...

... 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, which would lead to the Versailles Treaty and others that redrew much of the world's map in the course of settling disputes remaining after the end of World War I, convened for the 1st time. Opening addresses of Allied leaders -- among them the 3 pictured (l. to r.), British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson -- may be read here. A superb study of the conference is Margaret MacMillan's Paris 1919.
... 1943, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.) was born in Greenville, Texas.
... 1978 (30 years ago today), the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain's treatment of Irish interrogees violated Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention. In my 2004 article entitled Guantánamo, I discussed this judgment in light of the United States' post-9/11 detention policy, as follows:
International instruments evince particular concern that states act humanely toward persons they have detained. Early scrutiny of methods used during questioning of such persons occurred in the landmark decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Ireland v. United Kingdom. In order to achieve “disorientation” or “sensory deprivation” of suspected terrorists, British agents had forced Irish interrogees to stand for hours spread-eagled against a wall, to endure loud noises, or to submit to interrogation wearing a dark-colored hood, sometimes having been denied food, drink, or sleep. The European Court held in 1978 that combined and prolonged use of these techniques “caused, if not actual bodily injury, at least intense physical and mental suffering and also led to acute psychiatric disturbances during interrogation”; therefore, Britain had violated, if not the European Convention’s ban against torture, its equally nonderogable ban against inhuman and degrading treatment.

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