Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Things we'd like to see

Bush administration 'could face charges over Guantanamo torture'

Posted May 6, 2009 05:05:00

An international lawyer says the former Bush administration in the United States could be the subject of foreign investigations into interrogation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The United States Government last month released memos outlining the interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects held at the base during the previous administration.

Lawyer and author Philippe Sands has told ABC TV's Lateline that any criminal investigation into the Bush administration is more likely to come from outside the US.

"The evidence seems to be pretty strong now that certainly [former vice-president Donald] Rumsfeld, certainly now it seems [former] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were involved," he said.

"And the issue I think is much more one of political will. Can we really imagine an independent prosecutor opening a criminal investigation of the most recent administration?

"That doesn't mean that foreign criminal investigations might not do precisely that."

Mr Sands says criminal cases against suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay could be dropped if torture was used against them, because the use of torture reduces the chance of a successful prosecution.

"The bottom line of it is that once someone has been abused in that way, the evidence that has come out of those interrogations can no longer be used," he said.

"That undermines the likelihood of an effective criminal investigation and opens the door to a sort of reverse targeting of the individuals who caused the abuse to happen."


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