19:13 GMT24 February 2020
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    Prohibition of torture by US military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel may remain ineffective, if abusers are not held accountable.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Senate amendment prohibiting the use of torture by US officials will remain ineffective if those responsible for torture abuses are not held accountable, Habeas attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees Stephen Truitt told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    “No law will cure the unwillingness of the executive to prosecute torturers,” Truitt stated. “Until there is such a will to apply the law, whether a prior law or newly enacted law, there will be no responsibility for the conduct.”

    On Tuesday, the US Senate approved by a vote of 78 to 21 an amendment that reaffirmed the prohibition on the use of torture by US military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel. Interrogation and detention methods are strictly limited to those outlined in the US Army Field Manual.

    Truitt, who is principally responsible for one Guantanamo Bay prisoner and is assisting in three other habeas corpus cases, argued that lack of willingness to hold those accountable for using torture techniques will extend the “free pass” regime.

    “Obama’s decision not to prosecute for past torture but to ban future torture only, insures the same evils will be engaged in again,” he said.

    The attorney explained the amendment’s enactment does not provide the essential missing ingredient to eliminate torture, “a willingness of the Executive to prosecute torturers, from the highest supervisors down to the worker bees.”

    Truitt stated the need for an amendment prohibiting torture is somewhat unclear because torture is already prohibited by US federal criminal law.

    Signatories to the Convention Against Torture, including the United States, “are required to investigate allegations of torture and prosecute them,” he noted.

    If signed into law by President Barack Obama, the amendment would codify that torture techniques, previously justified by the US War on Terror, are illegal.

    In 2009, Obama issued an Executive Order banning the euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation,” or torture, techniques.

    In December 2014, the US Senate released a report outlining the use of torture by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The practices employed by the CIA against enemy combatants and detainees included waterboarding, questionable medical procedures and other methods that are not defined in the US Army Field Manual.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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