Senior U.S. officials who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush’s national security policy must be prosecuted, a top U.N. special investigator said Wednesday.
Ben Emmerson, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, said in addition that all CIA and other U.S. officials who used waterboarding and other torture techniques must be prosecuted.
He said the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques at secret overseas facilities after the 9/11 terror attacks shows “there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law.”
The report, released Tuesday, has sparked a firestorm of controversy in the U.S. and abroad. President Barack Obama said the interrogation techniques “did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies.”