The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Manfred Nowak

UN Rapporteur: Not prosecuting torturers is illegal

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From an interview with the Austrian newspaper Der Standard:

clipped from thinkprogress.org

UN Rapporteur On Torture: Obama’s Pledge Not To Pursue Torture Prosecutions Of CIA Agents Is Not Legal

un_nowak.jpg[T]he UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Manfred Nowak, explained that Obama’s grant of immunity is likely a violation of international law.

As a party to the UN Convention Against Torture, the U.S. is obligated to investigate and prosecute U.S. citizens that are believed to have engaged in torture:

STANDARD: CIA torturers are according to U.S. President Obama not to be prosecuted. Is that decision supportable?

NOWAK: Absolutely not. The United States has, like all other Contracting Parties to the UN Convention Against Torture, committed itself to investigate instances of torture and to prosecute all cases in which credible evidence of torture is found.[…]

[T]he convention states that an “order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”[…] it provides unequivocally that states … are to prosecute any incidents [of torture] […]

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If we hope to bring the USA into a relationship with other nations based on mutual respect of international law, how can we flaunt it ourselves?  If we hope to see a world without torture, how can we sweep our own sins under the rug?

Time to face the music, Mr. President.  Pursuing good vibrations internally does not justify the excusing of criminal acts or further flaunting of international and American law.

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U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture: US “has a clear obligation” to prosecute Bush, Rumsfeld

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Apparently, international law (which is, in this case, US law as well) is pretty clear.
clipped from thinkprogress.org
In remarks that aired on German television last night, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, urged the U.S. to pursue former President George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on charges that they authorized torture and other harsh interrogation techniques:

bushrummyweb.jpg

Rumsfeld, Bush

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld. […] He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it. […]

Indeed, a bipartisan Senate report released last month found that Rumsfeld “bore major responsibility” for abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military detention centers […]

[L]ast week, a Bush administration official overseeing Gitmo trials said Rumsfeld approved the torture of one particular detainee.

Bush himself said last year that […] he personally authorized waterboarding Kalid Sheik Muhammad […]

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I wonder how the USA could demand compliance by any nation to any treaty obligation if it doesn’t fulfill its own solemn obligations in this case.

If we can look away when torture suits the leaders of the moment, can’t everyone? If we can find lawyers who’ll write opinions excusing our leaders when they feel torture appropriate, can’t everyone?

Robert Mugabe will see himself and the USA as birds of a feather.


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