The New York Times Editorial (By the Editorial Board and Dated Dec. 21, 2014) has called for Prosecution of Torturers and Their Bosses (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/opinion/prosecute-torturers-and-their-bosses.html?_r=0; obtained on 12-22-2014) referencing the 524 page executive summary by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The editorial pointed out that behaviors such as “rectal feeding” are federal crimes meeting the federal law definition of torture. Also referenced is the Convention Against Torture — The International Treaty the United States reportedly ratified in 1994 that requires the prosecution of any acts of torture.
Likewise, earlier this month an article in “UN News Centre” titled “UN expert calls for prosecution of CIA, US officials for crimes committed during interrogations” (https://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49560#.VJjgHF4C8; obtained on 12-22-2014) began the following way:
“9 December 2014 – A United States Senate report has confirmed what the international community has long believed – that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush Administration which allowed to commit gross violations of international human rights law, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights said today.
Released this afternoon, the so-called Feinstein report, after long-time US Senator Dianne Feinstein who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that compiled the document, probes crimes of torture and enforced disappearance of terrorist suspects by the Bush-era CIA.
‘It has taken four years since the report was finalised to reach this point,’ said Ben Emmerson in a statement.
Now it is time to take action, he added. ‘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,’ he said.
Identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.
‘The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,’ Mr. Emmerson explained.
International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.
The US is legally obliged, by international law, to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.
‘States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes,’ Mr. Emmerson said.”
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