United Nations Official Strongly Suggests That Obama Is In Violation International Law in Refusing to Investigate War Crimes

225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obama125px-flag_of_the_united_nationssvgU.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak has gone public with a stinging indictment of President Barack Obama’s failure to investigate and prosecute officials for the American torture program, a clear war crime under existing treaties. Obama is in open violation of international law due to his failure to uphold the clear legal and moral obligations of this country.

For many months, I have been received a great deal of flak over this very same point (here and here: that Obama is in clear violation of international law. Nowak has now added a much more significant voice to the call for investigation and prosecution: “The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court.”

Former Bush officials, the Red Cross, the vast majority of legal experts, and numerous NGOs have confirmed these interrogations as premeditated torture. Obama and Holder have both declared waterboarding to be torture. The failure to simply appoint an independent investigator and allow the law to be enforced without concern for politics or passions. It is obvious that Obama does not want to allow an investigation that would likely lead to an indictment of Bush officials and probably Bush himself. If Obama wants to excuse war crimes, he can take the personal responsibility and pardon Bush and these officials — tying his own legacy to the commission of torture. However, his blocking of an investigation is an international outrage and puts us into the same category as countries like Serbia. Obama has the authority to pardon crimes, not obstruct efforts to investigate crimes for political purposes. This may not be politically advantageous for Obama, but these treaties do not exist for his comfort or advantage. We made a pledge to the world that we would aggressively pursue any war criminals — even if they happened to be made in the America.

The refusal to allow an investigation by a special prosecutor obstructs the enforcement of these laws, including our commitment under these treaties. Obviously, Obama and Holder cannot be charged with obstruction of justice for refusing to prosecute but they are obstructing the enforcement of these laws in violation of these international agreements. We have criticized other nations for such efforts to bar investigations or protect individuals accused of war crimes. Our obvious reluctance to allow a special prosecutor to pursue these allegations is whittling away the little credibility that we had after the Bush years on human rights.

For the full story, click here.

35 thoughts on “United Nations Official Strongly Suggests That Obama Is In Violation International Law in Refusing to Investigate War Crimes”

  1. President Obama USA

    There is a great tension/crisis in the world currently do something; Send a strong delegation to areas with crisis/tension in conjunction with other nations to elevate the situation.

    Unnecessary war can erupt at any time, it has to be avoided.

    President Medvedev Russia

    If a chemical war erupts now at the Far East, who do you think will safer.

    King Abdul Saudi Arabia

    Do you think you can do something about the current world crisis/tension, are not very quiet;

    OAU Africa

    Do you think Africa will be isolated when another war (chemical) erupts. It is better for you to join other world communities/leaders and elevate this situation which posses as world threat number one. Condemning only does not help.

    To be kind to a civilized people, the world will be a peacefully and a happy place to live.

    To be kind to obstinate people does not make them kind as well, on the other hand, they can create a problem/danger/war at any time. (they can create any situation they so wish regardless of your kindness).

    Prevention is better than cure.

  2. And the lawyers aren’t getting prosecuted either. What a suprise.

    “CNN’S ED HENRY: Just so I understand, you’re saying the people in the CIA who followed through on what they were told was legal, they should not be prosecuted? But why not the Bush administration lawyers who, in the eyes of a lot of your supporters on the left, twisted the law, why are they not being held accountable?

    GIBBS: The president is focused on looking forward. That’s why.”

  3. Jill,

    Thanks for the link and I have to second the proposal of John Durham as special prosecutor.

  4. This is a very well reasoned/written open letter to Obama by a group of law teachers. It is well worth reading.

    “To disavow prosecution of those who engaged in interrogation methods you now condemn is to taint the honor of our uniformed military and civilian professionals who – in the darkest days of the “war on terror” – resisted such instructions and the mounting pressure to comply that pervaded certain US-controlled prisons and interrogation centers. These brave men and women refused to engage in inhuman and degrading treatment and torture despite the purported guidance offered in these newly released memos.

    These memos appear to be offering legal guidance, but they do not. As professionals whose task it is to teach and evaluate legal analysis, we believe it is painfully obvious that these memos are not dispassionate advice of the kind on which one could rely reasonably, but instead distort the very nature of legal analysis, creating a mockery of the rule of law.”


  5. Judge Garzon rules!!!!!

    “April 17, 2009, New York –The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represents many of the men detained by the U.S. government at Guantánamo, praised Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon’s decision to pursue a criminal investigation into the actions of six Bush administration lawyers for providing legal cover for torture at the base. His move comes the day after the Spanish attorney General overrode his prosecutors to recommend that the case not go forward. CCR attorneys hailed the decision as an important step in holding these officials and others accountable for their crimes. The case may well lead to investigations of top officials, including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.”

  6. Mespo:

    We are an honorable people of our word or we are not.

    “Promises may fit the friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies.”
    ~Benjamin Franklin


    So Mespo, what ever happened to…

    “AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”

    “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another.” — John Locke

  7. Jane,

    Here’s a very likely answer for you from Emanuel”

    “STEPHANOPOULOS: What about those who devised policy?

    EMANUEL: Yes, but those who devised policy, he believes that they were — should not be prosecuted either, and that’s not the place that we go — as he said in that letter, and I would really recommend people look at the full statement — not the letter, the statement — in that second paragraph, “this is not a time for retribution.” It’s time for reflection. It’s not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back and any sense of anger and retribution.”


    That is very disturbing.

  8. bUDDHA:

    that was a good point about the release of torture particulars and the use of such as recruiting tool.

    Osama- “Venal American dogs make mockery of our courageous brothers. they are all cowards”

    I can see it now.

    You know what the more I think about this torture stuff the more I understand where you guys are coming from. I even found myself responding to my wife about how you cant make rules as you go along and find people that will say whatever you want them to say the constitution means. It’s really worked out well with the Patriot Act (which I was against from the beginning) hasnt it.

    Jesus, I really did drink the Bush KoolAide. Well better late than never to have a high colonic
    to remove that shit from my brains.

    Thanks for the help down the path to enlightenment on this issue. Although I dont know if I would try him and fry him. Maybe a show trial ruin him professionaly screw his legacy and fine him a few thousand and then make him do a mea culpa lap around the world.

    I honestly think that most conservative Americans (like I was) would not tolerate Bush being tried for war crimes and it would cause a political firestorm on the right. You would really have to do some intellectual ground work on the right to get what you want. Prof. Turley has done a lot but he needs to make his point to more than Just KO and RM, they have a very limited audience. I watch them once in awhile.

    That Khalid Sheik Mohammed post about the 183 times tortured was a good one and the fact that we dont even know for sure if he was indeed the head guy for 9/11. It really does start to sound like some pissant trying to pull the wings off flies for crawling on the peach cobbler at the 4th of July Picnic.

  9. These are two headlines from this morning’s Huffington Post:

    CQ: Rep. Harman Recorded On Wiretap Promising To Intervene For AIPAC, Say Sources

    Former AG Alberto Gonzales Dropped The Probe Because He Wanted Her Help Defending Warrantless Wiretapping

    These are both very disturbing on many levels.

    A member of Congress was heard on a court-approved wiretap (problem 1) promising “a suspected Israeli agent” she’d lobby the DOJ to reduce some espionage chrges against two AIPAC members (problem 2). In return, the “agent” promised to lobby Speaker Pelosi to name Harman to head the Intelligence Committee (problem 3). To top it off, then-AG Gonzales read the trandscripts, saw an opening and pressured Harman to support the illegal wiretapping program (Problem 4).

  10. As far as Pardons go, you know I never did understand the idea of a preemptive pardon anyway. . .
    A pardon is executive clemency for a convicted crime; if the perp in question never got convicted yet, how could the executive pardon him/her.
    I would seem to me that these cia agents who tortured, although pardonable legally by Obama, would still have to be prosecuted and convicted of the crimes before any pardon would be legally appropriate.
    No prosecutor or judge should accept an illegal preemptive “pardon” as an excuse to not try them in court.

  11. If it were Saudi Arabia that tortured Americans, or Iran that tortured Americans, wouldn’t we want the UN to step up & speak out?? I don’t understand what is wrong with what they’re doing.
    I’m a 100% Obama supporter. That said, I thought that so far he’s only said he wouldn’t prosecute the CIA operatives; that didn’t include the higher ups. Has he said he is refusing to have war crimes investigated?
    My “hope” is they’re going to go after the top guns, unlike how Abu Ghraib was handled.
    I don’t see why he would want to block an investigation of the Bush Regime. I certainly hope that’s not the case. He clearly said he’d have him investigated, during his campaign. That is what got me to even pay attention to him.
    Only time will tell. I hope he keeps his word.

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