Posts Tagged ‘harsh interrogation techniques’

George Bush could be next on the war crimes list

March 6, 2009,Thursday, March 5, 2009

THE HAGUE – George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court’s next target.

David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Crane is a former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal that indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor and put him on trial in The Hague.

Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch, said the al-Bashir ruling was likely to fuel discussion about investigations of possible crimes by Bush Administration officials.

Congressional Democrats and other critics have charged that some of the harsh interrogation techniques amounted to torture, a contention that Bush and other officials rejected.

The prospect of the court ever trying Bush is considered extremely remote, however.

The US Government does not recognise the court and the only other way Bush could be investigated is if the Security Council were to order it, something unlikely to happen with Washington a veto-wielding permanent member.

– AP

Obama to let CIA use controversial renditions

February 2, 2009

Terror suspects can still be secretly seized and sent to other countries.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

WASHINGTON — The CIA’s secret prisons and Guantánamo Bay detention center are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits.

But, under executive orders issued by President Barack Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out “renditions,” the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program may be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it is the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

“Obviously you need to preserve some tools. You still have to go after the bad guys,” said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing the legal reasoning. “The legal advisers working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles. … But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice.”

The decision to preserve the program didn’t draw major protests, even among some human rights groups.

“Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

But Malinowski said he has urged the Obama administration to require that prisoners be transferred to other countries only when there is a guarantee they will get a public hearing in an official court. “Producing a prisoner before a real court is a key safeguard against torture, abuse and disappearance,” Malinowski said.

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