UN torture investigator: Obama has broken International law
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The United Nation's top torture investigator has suggested it is illegal under International law for President Barack Obama to announce that the United States government has no intention of prosecuting low-level CIA officers who carried out torture sanctioned by the Bush Administration.
President Barack Obama's release on Thursday of four Bush administration memos sanctioning torture has been widely praised. However, word that government will go so far as to offer a fully-paid legal defense for agents who applied torture techniques to terror war prisoners has triggered loud criticism.
"Like all other contracting states to the UN convention against torture, the US has committed to conduct criminal investigations of torture and to bring all persons to court against whom there is sound evidence," Manfred Nowak, the UN's Special Rapporteur on torture, told Austrian weekly paper Der Standard.
"They are party to the convention and the convention is very, very clear," Nowak told the paper. "The fact that you carried out an order doesn't relieve you of your responsibility."
"In a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manfred Nowak [...] said the United States had committed itself under the U.N. Convention against Torture to make torture a crime and to prosecute those suspected of engaging in it," reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Nowak, who said he would soon travel to Washington for meetings with officials, also called for a comprehensive independent investigation into the matter and added it was important to compensate the victims," the paper continued.
"Nowak said he did not think the president would not go so far as to issue an amnesty law for CIA operatives. Therefore US courts could still try torture suspects," reported Earth Times.
"President Obama deserves credit for rejecting arguments that official disclosure of these 'enhanced' interrogation techniques would set a dangerous precedent," opined the LA Times on Saturday. "But he continues to hedge about whether the CIA might once again be freed from the standards of conduct imposed on interrogators for the military. Indignation over these shameful documents should convince the president that a double standard for interrogation is intolerable."
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