Article 3

The sheer ignorance of many torture defenders still staggers. Here is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which should, one hopes but not expects, put to rest any notion that un-uniformed captives have no rights in captivity and can be lawfully subjected to waterboarding, forced nudity, total sensory deprivation, slamming against walls, multiple beatings, hypothermia, stress positions, hooding, phobias (dogs, insects), confined coffin-like spaces, and brutal long-term sleep deprivation:

Article 3 has been called a "Convention in miniature." It is the only article of the Geneva Conventions that applies in non-international conflicts.[2]

It describes minimal protections which must be adhered to by all individuals within a signatory's territory during an armed conflict not of an international character (regardless of citizenship or lack thereof): Noncombatants, combatants who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. The passing of sentences must also be pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. Article 3's protections exist even though no one is classified as a prisoner of war.

The article text for Article 3 of the Second Geneva Convention differs from the other three Conventions in that it adds "shipwrecked" to the "wounded and sick."

Article 3 also states that parties to the internal conflict should endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

Notice that this isn't just a ban on "torture" however legally parsed. But a ban on all inhuman treatment, including outrages on personal dignity. So when is the US going to get serious about bringing this provision into force? And how can one possibly do that without prosecuting the guilty? Since we have already prosecuted and jailed those who perpetrated some of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, on what grounds are we letting off those who gave the orders