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Participants in Torture Incidents Could Face International Legal Action
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Summary: The torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday could lead to international legal action. 

It is possible that new legal cases will be brought against American officials who took part in the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program following the release of a report on Tuesday, according to ThinkProgress.

  
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The report, more than 500 pages long, was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee and it details the interrogations of 39 detainees. The report has led to calls for prosecution from human rights’ organizations, the United Nations and civil liberties organizations.

To read more about the CIA, click here.

In a statement, C.I.A. director John Brennan said the following:

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“We made mistakes. Detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), which the Department of Justice determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration.”

When President Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, the techniques were banned via executive order.



In an interview with NPR, former CIA head John McLaughlin, said, “We went to the Department of Justice at least four times to make sure that what we were doing was not torture in a legal sense and that it was consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

“And, on top of that John Durham, one of the toughest professional prosecutors in the Department of Justice, was asked by the Obama Administration to look at this program in detail, which he did,” McLaughlin said. “And he came back and said, ‘No prosecutable offenses.’”

In a statement from the United Nations’ special rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, said the following:

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

To read more about the United Nations, click here.

Emmerson also said that the United States is legally obligated to prosecute acts of torture as a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

In an email sent to the New York Times, Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch, said, “We know absolutely that key witnesses [who were subjected to torture] that went beyond what was authorized in C.I.A custody, were not interviewed.”

Also from Human Rights Watch, Andrea Prasow said, “Other countries have all the information they need should they wish to exercise universal jurisdiction and prosecute these officials should they appear in their borders.”

The ACLU said that there are multiple U.S. laws that could be used to hold the people accused of torture responsible for their actions. One of those laws is that of the federal torture statute.

To read more about the ACLU, click here.

The ACLU said, “There is no statute of limitations under the torture statute when the abuse risked or resulted in serious physical injury or death.”

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Image credit: Associated Press

 

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