Law deans assail torture memos as Gonzales hearing concludes

[JURIST] Two law deans, one a former Navy Judge Advocate General and the other a former senior State Department official in the Clinton administration, testified late Thursday at Senate confirmation hearings for US Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales that the permissive approach to torture and the concomitantly narrow approach to the Geneva Conventions adopted by the Bush administration under Gonzales' guidance amounted to bad policy and bad law. Admiral John Hutson (USN ret.), now Dean and President of Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord New Hampshire, said that the interrogation policy set out by Gonzales in January 2002 was short-sighted and dangerous to US military personnel. Yale Law School dean Harold Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1998-2001, said that the 2002 so-called Bybee memo for Gonzales on torture constituted a profound reversal of a previous zero-tolerance policy and was the worst piece of legal analysis from the Justice Department he had ever seen. Admiral Hutson's oral testimony this afternoon is largely reflected in the text of his JURIST Forum op-ed of today entitled Against Gonzales. The full text of his written testimony is available exclusively on JURIST here. Dean Koh's written testimony is not yet available. AP has more on Gonzales' portion of today's hearing, previously covered in JURIST's Paper Chase here.

 

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