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US must investigate Bush-era CIA interrogators: UN torture expert

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] is in violation of international law for declining to prosecute Bush-era CIA agents who allegedly used torture [JURIST news archive], UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] said in an interview [text, in German] published Friday in Austrian newspaper Der Standard [media website, in German]. Nowak said the US is bound by the UN Convention Against Torture [text], which requires prosecution in all cases in which there is evidence of torture. Nowak said there was still a possibility of trying agents in American courts, because Obama did not grant them amnesty. Nowak called for an independent investigation and compensation for torture victims.

On Thursday, Obama asserted his intention not to investigate individuals who used or authorized enhanced interrogation techniques, the same day the Department of Justice released memos [JURIST reports] outlining CIA use of those techniques. Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released a final version of a report [JURIST report] calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether any criminal laws were violated. In March, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) also called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Bush administration policies through the formation of a "truth commission."

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