Like most other human rights scholars, I am appalled at the idea that those people in the Bush White House who designed the administration’s policy on torture (but calling it something else) will in all likelihood go unpunished. In my view, the law is clear on this matter: those who directed and/or carried out torture must be held accountable for their actions. However, rather than focusing on the issue of accountability, I will use the issue of torture to make a broader point about how we have come to conceptualize the extent and scope of a state’s human rights obligations.

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