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Rape, Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights

McGlynn, Clare

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This article examines the legacy of the ground-breaking judgment in Aydin v Turkey in which the European Court of Human Rights held that rape could constitute torture. Ten years on, it examines jurisprudential developments in the conceptualisation of torture in the specific context of the offence of rape. It is argued that while all rapes should be found to satisfy the minimum threshold for Article 3, rape does not per se satisfy the severity of harm criterion for torture. Nonetheless, where the severity of harm is established, the case is made that the purposive element of torture is satisfied in all cases of rape. Finally, in relation to the scope of State responsibility for rape, particularly by private individuals, the article suggests that while the Court's achievements in recognizing rape as a serious harm are considerable, there remain further avenues for jurisprudential development which would ensure that rape as a form of torture is recognized in a wider range of situations and circumstances than is currently the case.


McGlynn, C. (2009). Rape, Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 58(3), 565-595.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2009
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2009
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2009
Journal International and Comparative Law Quarterly
Print ISSN 0020-5893
Electronic ISSN 1471-6895
Publisher British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 3
Pages 565-595


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