“For the purposes of this Convention 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” (Article 1, paragraph 1).
The States parties prohibit themselves under any circumstances from committing acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments. They are not only obliged to prohibit torture in their national legislation, but also all invocations of orders from superior officers or under exceptional circumstances for excusing such acts.
Moreover, no State shall expel, return or extradite a person “to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture” (Article 3, paragraph 1).