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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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In Defense of Lawfare: The Value of Litigation in Challenging Torture

In Defense of Lawfare: The Value of Litigation in Challenging Torture

(p.294) Chapter 13 In Defense of Lawfare: The Value of Litigation in Challenging Torture
Confronting Torture

Lisa Hajjar

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that lawfare has provided a valuable check on the some of the worse abuses of the US’s War on Terror, such as its use of torture, extraordinary rendition, and enhanced interrogation techniques. While lawfare was originally understood as akin to warfare by legal maneuvers, more recently advocates have employed it as one of the few ways available to oppose and document abuses by states such as the US. “Lawriors” have successfully sued to extend habeas corpus rights for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay military prison, as well as to suppress confessions extracted from US detainees under torture. While defenders of the Bush administration have criticized the use of lawfare, and lawriors have often failed in their legal maneuvers, this chapter argues that lawfare has improved conditions for some of those the US has tortured or otherwise detained without just cause. It also argues that, in the long run, such judicial battles are valuable for supporting constitutional norms and commitments the US has made to uphold international law, such as its prohibition on torture.

Keywords:   Bush administration, enhanced interrogation techniques, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay military prison, habeas corpus, lawfare, prisoners of war, torture, US law, War on Terror

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