Bookclub: Liberal democracies and the torture of their citizens

Cover of Cynthia's book, Liberal democracies and the torture of their citizens

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 28 March 2017


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Cynthia Banham, George Williams, Richard Ackland


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Additional links

Cynthia Banham’s book analyses the responses of the USA’s liberal allies to the use of torture against their citizens after 9/11.

While Australia, the UK and Canada share similar political cultures, alliances and values with America, they behaved quite differently. Responses were shaped, in part, by demands for accountability placed on the executive government by domestic actors.

Cynthia’s book maps the conditions under which individuals and groups were likely to become engaged when fellow citizens were tortured, and argues that civil society actors, in particular, were influenced by nuanced differences in their national political and legal contexts that enabled or constrained human rights activism.

For catering purposes please rsvp at this webform by c.o.b. Friday 24 March 2017.

About the Speakers

Dr Cynthia Banham is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Queensland School of Political Science and International Studies. She is also a Visitor at ANU’s School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), having previously been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at RegNet’s Centre for International Governance and Justice. Cynthia is a lawyer and a former journalist. Her research focuses on international human rights law and politics, and particularly the changing paths of political accountability in liberal democracies.

Professor George Williams AO is the Dean, the Anthony Mason Professor, and a Scientia Professor at UNSW Law. He has written and edited 34 books, including Australian Constitutional Law and Theory, The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Human Rights under the Australian Constitution. He has appeared as a barrister in the High Court in many cases over the past two decades, including on freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. He has also appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji, including on the legality of the 2000 coup.

Mr Richard Ackland has had 30 years experience in legal journalism and is founder of the Law Press of Australia and publisher of the Justinian legal journal. He worked as a reporter on The Australian Financial Review, wrote the “Clancy” column for the old National Times, was the founding presenter of the hosted discussion show Late Night Live on ABC Radio National, presented the Radio National Breakfast show, wrote and presented ABC TV’s Media Watch and is a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet