respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. Numerous relevant provi-sions are to be found in the Geneva Conventions.
35. “Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” is not deﬁned inthe ICCPR. The rapporteur considers that these terms should be interpreted pri-marily in accordance with their ordinary meaning, as required by Article 31 of the1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The United Nations HumanRights Committee, in General Comment No. 20 on the prohibition on torture andcruel treatment or punishment, has given additional guidance, stating that Article7 “relates not only to acts that cause physical pain but also to acts that causemental suffering to the victim”. (It also stated that “prolonged solitary conﬁnementof the detained or imprisoned person may amount to acts prohibited under Article7.”) In relation to Article 3 of the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights hasruled that, in order to constitute a violation, mistreatment “must attain a minimumdegree of severity”, assessed by reference to “all the circumstances of the case,and in particular the nature and context, and the duration of the treatment, itsphysical or mental effects and, sometimes, the sex, age and state of health of theperson concerned”.
36. Torture is deﬁned in international law by Article 1 of the United NationsConvention Against Torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inﬂicted on a person for such purposes asobtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing himfor an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed,or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based ondiscrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inﬂicted by or at theinstigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public ofﬁcial or other person acting in an ofﬁcial capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arisingonly from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”37. On 16 April 2003, the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, approved alist of “counter-resistance techniques” for use during interrogations at Guantánamo.The latter document made clear the administration’s appreciation of the fact thatcertain of the techniques could contravene the Geneva Conventions. The approvedtechniques, which could be applied simultaneously and cumulatively, included thefollowing: signiﬁcantly increasing the fear level in a detainee (using unspeciﬁed
73. See Common Article 3; Articles 13, 14, 17, 20, 46 and 87 of GC III; Articles 27, 32,
37 and 127 of GC IV; Articles 10 and 75 of the First Additional Protocol of 1949
(Protocol I); and Articles 4, 5 and 7 of the Second Additional Protocol of 1949 (Protocol II).Article 75 of Protocol I is broadly accepted to represent customary international law (seeMatheson, M.J., “The US position on the relation of customary international law to the 1977Protocols”, 2 AM. U. J. INT’L L. and POL’Y 415).74.
B. v. France
, judgment of 25 March 1992.