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Obama aides favoring commission on counter-terror methods: report

[JURIST] Some officials in the formative administration of US President-elect Barack Obama [transition website] have said they support the creation of a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate potentially abusive US counter-terrorism policies, according to a Newsweek report [text] Saturday. The officials have suggested that such an investigation should be similar to the 9/11 Commission [official website], with a focus on making public the details surrounding the development and authorization of harsh interrogation techniques and other counter-terrorism policies, rather than incriminating those involved. Both Obama and his aides have said previously said that his administration is not likely to prosecute [JURIST report] those who approved or carried out the torture or other harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, and will instead focus on the creation of new anti-torture laws.

Earlier this month, human rights experts at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] urging Obama to form an independent, nonpartisan commission [JURIST report] with subpoena powers to investigate the treatment of US detainees in Guantanamo as well as in facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq [JURIST news archives]. Their proposal, however, was more directed at establishing accountability, as the authors warned that any commission established by Obama must not be undercut by the issuance of pardons, amnesties, or other shielding measures.

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