The UN and human rights groups have called for the prosecution of the US officials behind the controversial Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation programme of al-Qaeda suspects outlined in the recent ‘torture report‘.

On Tuesday, Democrats from the US Select Committee on Intelligence released a report into the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITS), more commonly described as torture, in their attempt to find evidence about al-Qaeda operations.

The techniques included waterboarding, stress positions, slapping, humiliation, exposure to cold temperatures, sleep deprivation, rectal feeding, and mock execution.

In a statement, United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, welcomed the “belated publication of the summary report”, and said that it was time to take action against those that orchestrated the programme.

He said:

“The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed – that 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 identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.

“It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.

“International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.

“As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”

Amnesty International said that the report “is a stark reminder of the ongoing impunity for the many appalling human rights violations perpetrated in the name of “national security” and called for prosecutions of those that orchestrated the programme.

Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara Rosas commented:

“This report provides yet more damning detail of some of the human rights violations that were authorised by the highest authorities in the USA after 9/11.

“The declassified information contained in the summary, while limited, are a reminder to the world of the utter failure of the USA to end the impunity enjoyed by those who authorised and used torture and other ill-treatment.

“This is a wake-up call to the USA, they must disclose the full truth about the human rights violations, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for the victims. This is not a policy nicety, it is a requirement under international law.”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen also called on UK authorities to launch “a full independent inquiry with proper judicial powers”

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