Proponents of Torture May Yet Face Universal Justice
Analysis by William Fisher
20 Apr 09 | IPS
Human rights advocates who were critical of President Barack Obama’s decision not to prosecute Central Intelligence Agency operatives who tortured war-on-terror prisoners are hailing a Spanish judge’s order to pursue a criminal investigation into the actions of six Bush administration lawyers for providing legal cover for torture – despite a recommendation from his prosecutors that the case not go forward.
Late last week, Spain’s attorney general, Candido Conde-Pumpido, recommended that the judge, Baltasar Garzón, should dismiss the complaint, brought by human rights lawyers. A day later, the judge resisted pressure with a decision to proceed with the case.
The crusading investigative judge is the same official who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. The attorney general encouraged the judge to let sleeping Bush administration officials lie. According to a report by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Conde-Pumpido said that Garzón’s proposed criminal investigation into the actions of former Bush officials for possible violations of international law has “no merit.” >>>
Lawyers who reject President Barack Obama’s decision not to seek prosecution of officials who may have participated in the torture of terror-suspect prisoners are seeking justice through another avenue: Sanctions against government lawyers who created the “enhanced interrogation” policies of former President George W. Bush.
Their first target is former Defence Department General Counsel William J. Haynes II. The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has filed a complaint against Haynes, asking the State Bar of California to investigate him and revoke his status as registered in-house counsel. Haynes is now an attorney with Chevron Corp. in San Ramon, California.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a similar complaint is being prepared in Pennsylvania against former Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo, the University of California Berkeley law professor, for his role in drafting the legal guidelines that approved enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding during his service in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the George W. Bush administration. >>>