A leading human rights group is criticizing the Obama administration for failing to criminally investigate anyone from the Bush administration for approving the use of torture against detainees. They say that since the U.S. wouldn’t act, the international community should step in.
The 107-page report from Human Rights Watch, “Getting Away with Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees,” presents “substantial information warranting criminal investigations of Bush and senior administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet, for ordering practices such as ‘waterboarding,’ the use of secret CIA prisons, and the transfer of detainees to countries where they were tortured,” according to a press release.Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the Justice Department was opening full investigations into the deaths of two inmates in CIA custody and closing 99 other cases.
But Human Rights Watch says that with high-profile Bush administration officials — including George W. himself — acknowledging their role in approving of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, there’s more that needs to be done.
The report even goes so far as to say that other countries should prosecute U.S. officials involved in crimes against detainees unless the U.S. pursues credible criminal investigations.
“The US has a legal obligation to investigate these crimes,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “If the US doesn’t act on them, other countries should.”
In a statement, Human Rights Watch singled out President Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA Director George Tenet.
“The US is right to call for justice when serious international crimes are committed in places like Darfur, Libya, and Sri Lanka, but there should be no double standards,” Roth said in a statement. “When the US government shields its own officials from investigation and prosecution, it makes it easier for others to dismiss global efforts to bring violators of serious crimes to justice.”