WASHINGTON: Former US president George W. Bush and a raft of senior US officials from his administration should be investigated for conspiracy to torture and for other crimes, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
In a scathing report, the international rights group decries the lack of prosecutions of those involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret programme to torture detainees in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.
It said there is enough evidence for the attorney general to order criminal probes.
The 153-page report outlines evidence to support the main criminal charges that could be brought against those behind what is referred to so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, and challenges claims that prosecutions are impossible.
“US officials who created, authorised and implemented the CIA program should be among those investigated for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes,” the report summary states.
It lists several top Bush officials, including the former president himself, then CIA director George Tenet, former attorney general John Ashcroft and former vice president Dick Cheney.
Additionally, the report says James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen who devised the programme under a CIA contract should also be investigated for their roles in the initial conspiracy.
The American Civil Liberties Union last month sued the two psychologists on behalf of a group of former prisoners from the early days of America’s “war on terror”.
The CIA’s use of torture was detailed in an explosive report released a year ago that describes the agency’s interrogation of Al Qaeda suspects, including beatings, rectal rehydration and sleep deprivation.