WCW Home News Recent News 10-1-09 NLG Open Letter to Holder
10-1-09 NLG Open Letter to Holder PDF Print E-mail
Share

From NLG.org | Original Article

We, the undersigned, are writing to request that you hold firm against any attempts by former Vice President Dick Cheney, the CIA directors, and the media to silence those who demand that the United States hold accountable those who have committed and authorized torture.

We call on you to appoint a special independent prosecutor who is not part of the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute all those who ordered, approved, justified, abetted or carried out the torture and abuse. The people who are held accountable should not be limited to low-level operatives.

We are particularly disturbed by the efforts of the reporters at the Washington Post to distort the facts and ignore the illegality of torture. They cited anonymous sources who allegedly said that torture works; these "reports" contradict the newly released report of the CIA’s Inspector General.

Cheney’s claim that your decision to open an investigation into the conduct of the CIA is a politicization of this issue is shameful. If anything, political pressure has led to your office taking too narrow an approach to the investigation.

The world community has expressed its revulsion at the use of torture in any form. Torture is illegal under all circumstances. The prohibition against torture is considered in international law on par with laws against genocide, slavery and wars of aggression. Under the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, it is a crime against humanity.

The United States is a party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the Geneva Conventions. Both treaties expressly require the United States to either extradite or initiate prosecution of persons who are reasonably accused – this is a legal obligation. The U.S. Torture Statute that Congress passed to fulfill our obligations under the CAT outlaws torture committed outside the United States. The U.S. War Crimes Act punishes torture as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. In 2006, the Supreme Court affirmed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that all prisoners in U.S. custody are protected by the Geneva Conventions.

There are many who claim we should ignore the facts and the law and refuse to hold accountable all those responsible for the use of torture. Whether actionable intelligence was gained is not the issue. Nor is the morale in the CIA.

We believe the oath of office you took requires that you not pick and choose those laws you will enforce.

National Lawyers Guild

Center for Constitutional Rights

U.S. Human Rights Network 2

American Association of Jurists

International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Psychologists for Social Responsibility

The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International

Lawyers Against the War (Canada)

Droite-Solidarité (France)

Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association

National Association of Democratic Lawyers in South Africa

European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights

Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (England)

Progress Lawyers Network (Belgium)

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (Philippines)

Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers

Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild; Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights

Bill Quigley, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director, US Human Rights Network

Jeanne Mirer, President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Roland Weyl, First Vice President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Micòl Savia, UN representative in Geneva, International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Vanessa Ramos, President, American Association of Jurists

Max Boqwana, General Secretary, National Association of Democratic Lawyers in South Africa

Mike Mansfield QC, President, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Liz Davies, barrister, UK, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Richard Harvey, Bureau member of International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Executive

member, Haldane Society.

Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, University of London; President, European Lawyers for

Democracy and Human Rights; International Secretary, Haldane Society

Sister Dianna Ortiz, U.S. Torture Survivor and founder of the Torture Abolition and Survivors

Support Coalition International

Harold Nelson, Advocacy Coordinator, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition

International

Gail Davidson, Chair, Lawyers Against the War

Osamu Niikura, President, Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association

Edre Olalia, Vice President, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Neri Colmenares, Secretary General, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Jan Fermon, representative, Progress Lawyers Network

Fabio Marcelli, Executive Committee and Speaker for International and European Affairs, Italian

Association of Democratic Lawyers

George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary

Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Dr. Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, University of San Diego; Associate Fellow, Transnational Institute

Jordan J. Paust, Mike and Teresa Baker Law Center Professor, University of Houston Law

Center 3

Terry Karl, Gildred Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies

Department of Political Science, Stanford University

Marc Falkoff, Assistant Professor, Northern Illinois University College of Law

John W. Lango, Philosophy Professor, Hunter College of the City University of New York

Elizabeth M. Iglesias Professor of Law & Director, Center for Hispanic & Caribbean Legal

Studies, University of Miami School of Law

Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Michael Avery, Professor, Suffolk Law School

Michael E. Tigar, Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke Law School; Emeritus Professor,

Washington College of Law

Andy Worthington, journalist and author of "The Guantanamo Files"

Tom Hayden

Michael Rooke-Ley, Professor of Law Emeritus, Nova Southeastern University

William J. Aceves, Professor, California Western School of Law

Phyllis Bennis, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, retired, Dept of Linguistics & Philosophy, MIT

Daniel Ellsberg

Alfred W. McCoy, J.R.W. Smail Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison Susan Rutberg, Professor, Golden Gate University School of Law

John Ehrenberg, Professor and Chair of Political Science, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY

Radhika Balakrishnan, Professor, Rutgers University

David Swanson, author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More

Kristina Borjesson, Member, Robert Jackson Steering Committee

 

 
Copyright © 2021 War Criminals Watch. All Rights Reserved.
War Criminals Watch is a project of World Can't Wait
 

We're on Facebook