Today marks the two-year anniversary of the release of the Senate Torture Report Executive Summary detailing some of the barbarity and brutality of the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation and detention program. The current administration has been steadfast in its refusal to prosecute the responsible parties. As we prepare to mark International Human Rights Day tomorrow commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — which includes the prohibition against torture — we cannot take for granted that those in power will be restrained by reasserting the principle that torture is unlawful; we, and those empowered to defend and enforce the rule of law, must treat it as such.
CCR has been fiercely dedicated to torture accountability for decades — whether by the U.S., foreign officials, or corporations. When the summary of the report was released in 2014, we repeated our longstanding call to prosecute the architects of the torture program. Today, we do again, this time joined by legal, advocacy and educational institutions. Along with 24 other organizations, we submitted a letter to Attorney General Lynch asking that she open an expanded and comprehensive investigation into the post-9/11 detention and interrogation program in order to bring to justice those suspected of crimes under international law as well as US federal law.
We believe the U.S. officials should be investigated at home, and prosecuted in U.S. courts. But, if our government continues to refuse to hold them accountable, they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction, as we have done in France, Spain, Germany, Canada, and Switzerland — or at the International Criminal Court.
As the letter to Attorney General Lynch states, "Lack of accountability contributes to the risk that torture will recur. It is critically important that the Justice Department make clear that torture and enforced disappearance will always be treated as serious crimes, and that perpetrators of these acts will always be brought to justice, regardless of position."
We will continue to pursue the torturers through all legal means possible, in an effort to ensure that torture will not recur.