The Law of Interrogations Guide: Table of Contents

Alternate Formats

The issue of Torture and Ill-Treament

Office of the Judge Advocate General
Strategic Legal Paper Series Issue 1

Issued on Authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff


The purpose of the Strategic Legal Paper Series is to promote consideration and discussion among Canadian Forces legal officers on selected topics of strategic legal importance.

The complex security environment of the 21st Century, including the threat of transnational terrorism, presents unique and challenging legal issues for military commanders and their legal advisors. Therefore, topics addressed in this series should also be of professional interest to military commanders and their staffs.

The opinions expressed or implied in these papers are those of the authors. The Strategic Legal Analysis Papers do not therefore necessarily represent the views of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Canadian Forces, the Department of National Defence or the Government of Canada and should not be taken to do so.

The Issue of Torture and Ill-treatment
Captain Sara R. Siebert


This paper discusses the law applicable to Canadian Forces intelligence gathering interrogations activities that take place in the context of international operations. The objective is to provide a broad overview of the law of interrogation by considering interrogation methods and techniques and exploring what is meant by torture and illtreatment in this context. In situations of armed conflict, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is applicable as lex specialis and human rights law as lex generalis. This paper considers the minimum level of protection to which detainees are entitled under the provisions of IHL and the standards of treatment that define the acceptable legal boundaries relevant to interrogations. In so doing, the analysis also considers other areas and sources of law to better understand and interpret the applicable legal obligations. Finally, specific methods and techniques aimed at persuading a detainee to cooperate are examined.

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