On April 24, 2009, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak called for the prosecution of US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers who drafted four memos which outlined the legal rationale for controversial interrogation techniques used against terrorism suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In the week prior to this announcement, Nowak criticized President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who allegedly used "enhanced interrogation techniques" during the Bush administration. Following the release of the memos the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an independent investigator to probe the allegations for potential criminal violations, although Obama responded that the memos were meant to show that those who carried out their duties did so in good faith reliance upon DOJ legal advice. The broader issue of prosecuting US officials for torture was brought to light in December 2008 after the Senate Armed Services Committee alleged that top Bush officials, including former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, "bore major responsibility" for abuses committed by US interrogators in military centers.
Learn more about torture and the CIA from the JURIST news archive and read commentary about the breadth of torture allegations and the "war on terror" from JURIST Contributing Editor Benjamin Davis in Forum.