What is torture?
Torture is an intentional act that causes physical and/or mental pain or suffering.
Its objectives are to obtain information and confessions as well as to punish and intimidate.
Torture is carried out by public officials or others who have been instigated by the authorities.
According to the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the official definition of torture is:
“1. The term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for 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 on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation 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 arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application”.
To find more information about the concept and definitions of torture, you can read the following presentation by Emma Bolshia Bravo Cladera: El Concepto de la Tortura (in Spanish);
Or visit the websites of IRCT – International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
What is State Violence?
Violence is the use of intentional force to achieve an end, such as a political objective, or to injure people or property. Violence may cause physical pain to those who experience it directly, as well as emotional distress to those who either experience or witness it.
State violence is legitimate and legal - and therefore it can be distinguished from the violence of a criminal group.
The victims of state violence are members of the public.