European officials and lawyers seek to criminalize former US officials over torture charges amid the reluctance of President Barack Obama.

Press TV
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

European officials and lawyers seek to criminalize former US officials over torture charges amid the reluctance of President Barack Obama.

A number of European authorities and human rights groups have expressed dissatisfaction with Obama’s failure to press charges against ex-CIA authorities who sanctioned or administered the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation methods’ to terror suspects, saying that they will make an effort to delve into the torture case under a “universal jurisdiction” code.

Civil rights campaigners say the legal code adopted by some EU countries, authorizes lawyers across the globe to file lawsuits against war criminals, perpetrators of genocides and other human rights offenses, regardless of their country of residence.

In Spain and Germany, lawyers and social liberties activists have brought charges in domestic courts against former US authorities including the ex-defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

The European pursuit of charges against previous US administration officials for deliberately undermining the UN Convention Against Torture has sparked concerns in the US.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has warned EU governments that they must prevent human rights groups from pushing for further “criminal investigations of US officials”.

Rice says any pursuit of the issue will lead to “a worsening legal and political dilemma” across the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, UN special investigator for human rights and counterterrorism, Martin Scheinin has said that former senior US officials — including vice-president Dick Cheney — could face a trial overseas if they fail to respond to allegations into their order of torture in the United States.

Full story here.


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