National recognition for paper on torture 


Mr Jeswynn Yogaratnam

The Australasian Law Teachers Association (ALTA) has honoured a Charles Darwin University Lecturer for his academic work involving Guantanamo Bay.

Jeswynn Yogaratnam was recently named the 2009 winner of the ALTA’s Best Early Career Academic Conference Paper Award.

The paper, entitled “Still see no evil, speak no evil of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib?”, was judged the outstanding entry and announced at the recent ALTA 2010 Conference.

“The paper critically examines the term ‘torture’ in the context of international law and domestic law in the United States,” Mr Yogartnam said. “It makes specific reference to the coercive interrogation techniques applied in Abu Ghraib and other detention centres in Iraq, as part of the United States’ battle to combat terrorism post 9/11.”

Mr Yogaratnam said he wrote the paper after being moved by the stories of those who survived the “torture” at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and continue to live by the stigma of being a terrorist.

“The paper scrutinises the interpretation of torture and discusses striking the balance with lawful interrogation techniques,” he said.

“It also discusses the trade-off in moral currency of fundamental human rights under the guise of national security to combat terrorism.”

Mr Yogaratnam said he also wrote the paper to remind people that the manipulation of law could occur in any modern democratic nation.

Mr Yogaratnam is principal lecturer in Human Rights Law at the CDU Faculty of Law, Business and Arts. His research interests include Timor Leste’s domestic violence law and the interplay with the penal code, and comparative research on socio-economic rights of Indigenous peoples in Malaysia, Australia and South Africa.