The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jen Nessel, 212.614.6449,

CCR Decries Immunity for Torture, Secrecy


In response to President Obama's decision to guarantee immunity
to CIA officials who carried out the drowning torture known as water boarding,
which his attorney general has classified as torture, the Center for
Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

"It is one
of the deepest disappointments of this administration that it appears unwilling
to uphold the law where crimes have been committed by former officials. Whether
or not CIA operatives who conducted water boarding are guaranteed immunity, it
is the high level officials who conceived, justified and ordered the torture
program who bear the most responsibility for breaking domestic and
international law, and it is they who must be prosecuted. In the
president's statement today, the most troubling contradiction is the
contrast of the words, 'This is a time for reflection, not
retribution,' followed shortly by, 'The United States is a nation
of laws.' Government officials broke very serious laws: for there to be
no consequences not only calls our system of justice into question, it leaves
the gate open for this to happen again."

Since the first days of the public revelations regarding the Bush
administration's torture program, the Center for Constitutional Rights
has made efforts to hold high level officials and their lawyers accountable for
their crimes. CCR, along with the European Center for Constitutional and
Human Rights (ECCHR) and the International Federation of Human Rights
(FIDH), has tried three times, twice in Germany and once in France,
to bring criminal cases in Europe against former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld,
former CIA director George Tenet, and former White House Counsel/Former
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as well as the other lawyers who were part of
the conspiracy that authorized the torture program in Guantanamo, Iraq, secret
CIA sites, and elsewhere. The German case is still pending. CCR also has
torture cases pending in U.S.

For more information on the German case, click here.
For a fact sheet on prosecutions and accountability for torture and other war
crimes, click here.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

(212) 614-6464