INTERROGATION IN WAR AND CONFLICT: BETWEEN LIBERTY, SECURITY AND JUSTICE
A Workshop supported by the Leverhulme Major Research Programme
The Liberal Way of War
Professor Hilary Footitt and Dr Simona Tobia, will be holding a one-day workshop on Tuesday, 29 November 2011, at the University of Reading.
After recent revelations of a ‘UK Abu Ghraib’, with allegations of systematic mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners of war at a British military interrogation centre, and the opening of a formal inquiry, the role of military interrogations has once again been under scrutiny. This seems a particularly opportune time to discuss ‘interrogation’ both as a military event and as a cultural phenomenon. Interrogation raises moral questions, especially for states that see themselves as ‘liberal’, but it can also be approached from many other angles. It is often, for example, a ‘first contact’ between actors who come from different cultures and speak different languages. It sets out to elicit information, but the absorption of that information depends on the conceptual scheme of the interrogator. There are important differences between interrogations done by ordinary soldiers, debriefings by professional intelligence operatives, and interviews that generate forensic evidence.
Given these complexities, it is surprising that practices involving the ‘questioning of enemies’ seldom receive comparative discussion. This interdisciplinary workshop gives an opportunity for a historically-informed discussion of the continuing problems that they cause for liberal states.
The workshop will have three panels:
‘Military interrogation: the questioning of enemies’, on interrogation practices in the armed forces, focusing on the preparation and training of military interrogators and on their role in war and in counter-insurgency.
‘Forensic interrogation and international justice’, on the questioning of suspects, witnesses, and victims in conflict resolution, focusing on international criminal tribunals including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
‘HumInt: interrogation, intelligence and security’, will focus on the role of interrogation in intelligence and security, comparing questioning practices in liberal and totalitarian states and considering the psychological consequences on prisoners.
Each panel will consider historical case studies from the twentieth century and the more general questions that they raise, such as the role of foreign languages in interrogations and interviews in conflict. Discussions will bring together political and cultural historians with military strategists, lawyers and other practitioners.
The event is free, but we do require registration. Venue and joining instructions will be sent to all registered delegates.
To register, please contact Dr. Simona Tobia - firstname.lastname@example.org.
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