Spanish judge reopens Guantanamo torture probe
A Spanish judge re-launched an investigation into the alleged torture of detainees held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, one day after a British authorities launched a probe into CIA renditions to Libya.
The twin developments demonstrated that while the Obama administration has stuck to its promise not to investigate whether Bush administration officials acted illegally by authorizing the use of harsh interrogation techniques, other countries are still interested in determining whether Bush-era anti-terror practices violated international law.
In Madrid, Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez handed down a 19-page decision Friday in which he said he would seek additional information – medical data, a translation of a Human Rights Watch report, elaboration on material made public by WikiLeaks, and testimony from three senior U.S. military officers who served at Guantanamo – in the case of four released Guantanamo captives who allege they were humiliated and subjected to torture while in U.S. custody.
Ruz ruled that under international law the United States has no right to declare itself immune from international prohibitions against torture “even in times of war or the fight against terrorism.” He also rejected U.S. claims that Guantanamo detainees had no right to protection under the Geneva conventions.
Ruz said, however, that it would be premature to notify the former U.S. officials named in the former detainees’ complaint that they are under investigation. Those officials include former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and two former Guantanamo commanders, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert and retired Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller.
In London, the Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard said Thursday that they would investigate allegations of British involvement in the Bush-era “extraordinary rendition” program, specifically whether British intelligence had a hand in delivering two Libyan opponents of Col. Moammar Gadhafi to Libyan jails, where they were tortured by Gadhafi’s secret police.
International human rights groups have turned to the European courts after losing successive efforts to bring cases in U.S. courts, which typically invoked the states secret doctrine to get lawsuits dismissed not on the merits but as a national security necessity.
[Excerpt of Miami Herald article by Carol Rosenberg]