Category Archives: Other Documents

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez addresses the importance of holding the CIA accountable in in Politico op-ed

June 24, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez recounts his personal experience of torture suffered decades ago in Argentina in a Politico op-ed and explains the importance of holding the CIA accountable, following the release of the Senate Torture Report.

“To my abusers. . . this was merely “enhanced interrogation””, a euphemism that downplays the pain and inhumanity of torture, the Special Rapporteur revealed, while pointing out that U.S. political figures – including presidential candidate Rick Perry – use the same euphemism to describe the CIA’s torture and ill treatment during its secret detention operations from 2002 to 2008. “Instead, torture becomes a matter of rational decision making and calibrated legality,” explained the Special Rapporteur, who also expressed concern to the fact that only four of the fourteen declared U.S. presidential candidates said they would keep an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama in his first days in office that seeks to ensure the U.S. does not commit torture.

Yet, although Obama abandoned the flawed legal reasoning the Bush administration used to justify torture – a crime under U.S. and international law – enhanced interrogation still hasn’t been prosecuted in the U.S., a situation that has left torturers free to campaign for its return while emboldening them worldwide.

Despite that, the Special Rapporteur remains convinced that the situation has improved, noting that the latest Senate amendment to the defense authorization bill strengthens the U.S. ban on torture. However, much remains to be done as torture “will continue to be known merely — and shamefully — as enhanced interrogation” as long as it goes unpunished.  You can read the article in full on Politico.

New Resolution on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Adopted by the General Assembly

March 20, 2014 – The UN General Assembly Resolution adopted a new resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment on December 18, 2013 in New York.  The Resolution recognized the Special Rapporteur’s reports and follow-up efforts, encouraging him to continue to include proposals on the prevention and investigation of torture and other ill-treatment in his recommendations, as well as to report on follow-up by States to his recommendations, visits, and other communications.  The Resolution also calls upon all States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his tasks. The Resolution highlighted in particular the need for States to to supply all necessary information requested by the Special Rapporteur; to fully and expeditiously respond to and follow up on his urgent appeals; to give serious consideration to responding favourably to requests to visit their countries; and to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on requested visits as well as with respect to the follow-up to his recommendations. The full text of the Resolution is available here.