AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards
The UN and prominent human rights groups have demanded justice for CIA torture victims, urging to prosecute the responsible US officials listed in the Senate’s report. The Justice Department says it will not pursue charges, even after seeing the report.
The calls for justice come after the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its long-awaited congressional report on Tuesday, which details the CIA’s use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on prisoners in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” the UN’s special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, said in a statement issued in Geneva. “The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”
“It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.”
Emmerson added that the released report confirmes what the international community has suspected for a long time.
“There was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the [George W.] Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law,” the UN official said.
Amnesty International also called for accountability, stressing that the report shows that the CIA was committing illegal acts “from day one.”
The CIA program “gave the green light to commit the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance – with impunity. It’s time for accountability, including a full investigation, prosecutions and remedy for victims,” the executive director of Amnesty’s US branch, Steven Hawkins, said.
“Torture is a crime and those responsible for crimes must be brought to justice,” he added.
The report “shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are fiction,” Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said, calling to prosecute those responsible.
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