Rights group calls for special prosecutor to investigate abuse roles of Rumsfeld, Tenet

Rights group calls for special prosecutor to investigate abuse roles of Rumsfeld, Tenet

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [official website] issued a report Saturday calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the roles of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA director George Tenet in connection with US mistreatment and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] and faciltities throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The report alleges that Rumsfeld failed to warn those under his command to halt abusive treatment of detainees, and that Tenet was responsible for policies that sent detainees to countries where they were tortured. The report calls for a special prosecutor and not a regular DOJ investigation because it alleges that US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has a conflict of interest due to his involvement in the abuse scanadal while White House Counsel.

Saturday's HRW report – not yet available online – comes on the heels of two other related developments; on Friday, a UN independent expert on human rights in Afghanistan issued a report [JURIST report] that he has received claims of torture and other abuses by US and Afghan forces there; also on Friday a US Army panel was reported to have cleared four senior US military officers of wrongdoing [JURIST report] in the Abu Ghraib case, although a fifth, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was relieved of her command [JURIST report].

In February, the ACLU called on Attorney General Gonzales [JURIST report] to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations of abuse of detainees held at Abu Ghraib prison. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is also a named defendant in a civil suit [JURIST report] brought against him by the ACLU on behalf of eight former detainees. The New York Times has more.

8:45 AM ET Sunday – The full HRW report Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees is now online. An accompanying press release notes that the report is being "issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos (April 28)."