News / USA

Bush's Waterboarding Admissions Damage International Law Experts Say

Demonstrators from the group 'World Can't Wait' hold a mock waterboarding of a prisoner (file photo)
Demonstrators from the group 'World Can't Wait' hold a mock waterboarding of a prisoner (file photo)

London-based human rights organization Amnesty International is calling on the United States to investigate  torture in the wake of President George W. Bush's recent public  admissions that he authorized waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques."

While promoting his memoirs, former U.S. President George W. Bush says he believes that the use of waterboarding in interrogations, a form of simulated drowning, saved lives. Amnesty International researcher Rob Freer says the admission should prompt U.S. action. "He admits essentially to authorizing acts which constitute torture under international law, and torture is a crime under international law and the U.S. is under obligation to investigate any allegations of torture and to bring those responsible to justice," he said.

The U.S.  Justice department would be responsible for such an investigation. Freer says it should not be limited to waterboarding or the president's admissions.

"There is a lot of evidence now that the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance were committed in the CIA's secret detention program," Freer said.

While U.S. President Barack Obama banned the practice of waterboarding soon after taking office, his administration has declined to launch an investigation into his predecessor. Philippe Sands, an international law expert and professor at University College London says that is bad for international law in general.

"It's very undermining of the rule of law, it opens the door to other countries to do these practices and it undermines American leadership and authority," Sands states.

Because torture is an international crime, it could be prosecuted in many places around the world, Sands says.
"It does expose those who signed off on waterboarding to certain risks if they travel abroad."

He says that includes the former president. "It certainly does include President Bush because there's no immunity for a former head of state in relation to international crimes."

But he says if he were to travel abroad, Mr. Bush would likely be so closely protected that an arrest would be difficult. "Practically, do I think something's going to happen? I think it's extremely unlikely. Is it impossible? No," Sands said.

Amnesty's Freer says Mr. Bush should be investigated no matter his position. "There is no doubt that waterboarding is torture and  as I said, torture is a crime and no lawyer, no president, no politician, no interrogator can override that prohibition," he said.

Mr. Bush maintained that information gleaned from the waterboarding technique thwarted attacks at American diplomatic facilities abroad,  and at Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf, the banking center of the British capital.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid