This article addresses a puzzle: dictatorships that practice torture are more likely to accede to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) than dictatorships that do not practice torture. I argue the reason has to do with the logic of torture. Torture is more likely to occur where power is shared. In one-party or no-party dictatorships, few individuals defect against the regime. Consequently, less torture occurs. But dictatorships are protorture regimes; they have little interest in making gestures against torture, such as signing the CAT. There is more torture where power is shared, such as where dictatorships allow multiple political parties. Alternative political points of view are endorsed, but some individuals go too far. More acts of defection against the regime occur, and torture rates are higher. Because political parties exert some power, however, they pressure the regime to make concessions. One small concession is acceding to the CAT.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management