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Confronting TortureEssays on the Ethics, Legality, History, and Psychology of Torture Today$
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Scott A. Anderson and Martha C. Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226529387

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226529554.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

Tales of Terrorism and Torture: The Soft Vengeance of Justice

Tales of Terrorism and Torture: The Soft Vengeance of Justice

(p.21) One Tales of Terrorism and Torture: The Soft Vengeance of Justice
Confronting Torture

Albie Sachs

University of Chicago Press

This chapter, adapted from Sachs’ intellectual memoire The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, details Sachs’ experience of torture at the hands of the South African Apartheid government for his work on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC). He describes his role in deliberations as an adviser to Oliver Tambo, acting president of the ANC, in dealing with ANC’s own use of torture in its fight against Apartheid. Sachs then describes the development of his own thinking about torture after becoming a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the post-Apartheid era. Sachs argues that torture is never acceptable, and illustrates the difficulties created by using abstraction and thought experiments in arguments about torture. He describes some of the difficulties torture and terrorism create for achieving reconciliation between formerly warring parties. He proposes that justice is a kind of “soft vengeance” against those who engage in torture.

Keywords:   abstraction, African National Congress, Apartheid, ethics of torture, Oliver Tambo, reconciliation, South Africa, terrorism, thought experiments, torture

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