2014-12-12 04:48

The release of the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) rendition, detention, and interrogation  programme gives an insight to the extent to which the American government and its representatives authorized, ordered and inflicted brutal and illegal torture on fellow human beings.

The report will be meaningless without prosecuting the perpetrators of what were unquestionably war crimes. A formal legal process must now follow to bring the perpetrators to book.

Whilst America glorifies itself as a model country, the latest Senate report into interrogation techniques used by the CIA proves otherwise. These heinous torture methods were perpetrated under management of some Western Governments.

After 9/11 unprecedented atrocities were inflicted on human beings in the name of war on terror and national security. The American government that preaches to the world about democracy, respecting international law and human rights lost its morals and principles after 9/11.

In order not to undermine the report’s credibility, to learn the correct lessons and to prevent history from being repeated, there must be an honest reckoning carried out with integrity.

Pardoning the perpetrators should not be an option as it will send out the wrong message and thus allow the cycle to continue.

In this regard I support the calls for the prosecution of officials involved in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s use of extreme interrogation methods on suspected terrorists.

To quote Ben Emmerson, the United Nations’s special envoy on human rights and counterterrorism, the report “reinforces the need for criminal accountability.” (VOA News, December 10).

Moreover, many senior officials around the globe are also calling for the prosecution of officials involved in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s use of extreme interrogation methods

To quote Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch; “torture will remain a 'policy option' for future presidents, unless officials are prosecuted.”

Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado also believes that the perpetrators should be held accountable.

To quote Udall; “The CIA has lied to its overseers and the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, and lied about torture and the results of torture. And no one has been held to account.” (VOA News, December 10).

However, despite calls for the prosecution of those involved in the use of torture it is unlikely these will ever come to execution.

Bringing the alleged torturers before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague courts may not be an option as the United States of America is not a member of the body.

Moreover, added to the complicating factors to bring the perpetrators to account is that these brutal methods of torture may not be regarded as war crimes or grave crimes by the ICC. The ICC prosecutor is under a mandate to only take on the gravest cases.

To quote former ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo; “grave cases or crimes means cases with thousands of victims.” (VOA News, December 10).

Torture is cruel, barbaric, unproductive, and makes a mockery of human beings.

Unfortunately, torture is often “justified” and even tolerated or excused. Many believe it is a means to gather information in order to gain confessions or extract information that can be used to save lives.

Like many other conscious driven individuals, I believe it just cannot be justified, accepted and it goes against any definition of civilized behaviour.


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