Torture allegations as events data: Introducing the Ill-Treatment and Torture (ITT) specific allegation data

Courtenay R. Conrad, Jillienne Haglund, Will H. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The Ill-Treatment and Torture (ITT) Data Collection Project uses content analysis to measure a number of variables on more than 15,000 public allegations of government ill-treatment and torture made by Amnesty International (AI) from 1995 to 2005. The ITT specific allegation (SA) event data use the torture allegation as the unit of observation, thus permitting users to manipulate them for a wide variety of purposes. In this article, we introduce the ITT SA data. We first describe the key variables in the SA data and report a number of bivariate descriptive statistics to illustrate some of the research questions that might be usefully investigated with the data. We then discuss how we believe the ITT SA data can be used to study not only AI's naming and shaming behavior, but also states' (lack of) compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). We conclude with an empirical analysis using the SA data that investigates the effect of domestic political institutions on formal complaints, investigations, and adjudication of torture allegations. We show that legislative checks are positively associated with complaints, investigations, and trials; elections and freedom of speech are positively associated with investigations and trials; and powerful judiciaries are associated only with investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ITT Data Collection Project has received support from the US National Science Foundation (Grants #0921397 and #1123666), the Department of Political Science at Florida State University, the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced, and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


  • data collection
  • human rights
  • torture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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