UNITED NATIONS: A UN expert Wednesday urged the United States and Britain to release the findings of confidential inquiries into the detention and interrogation practices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during President George W. Bush's administration.
In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, said US authorities must publish without delay, and to the fullest extent possible, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report into the CIA's secret detention and interrogation programme.
Emmerson, a prominent British human rights lawyer, said the request for publication of the findings is based on the principles of accountability for systematic human rights violations while countering terrorism.
"Those individuals found to have participated in secretly detaining persons and in any unlawful acts perpetrated during such detention, including their superiors if they have ordered, encouraged or consented to secret detentions, should be prosecuted without delay and, where found guilty, given sentences commensurate with the gravity of the acts perpetrated," he said.
Until now, the international community has failed to secure full responsibility for the acts committed by certain sections of the CIA in implementing a programme of torture, rendition and secret detention of terrorist suspects, Emmerson said.
He also called on the British Government to make public the interim report of the Gibson Inquiry, which seeks to look into allegations that the UK intelligence services were complicit in the torture of detainees and rendition flights, and establish a timetable for the proposed judge-led inquiry, stating its mandate and powers. Emmerson urged governments, particularly those which allegedly enabled the use of their airspace and landing facilities for CIA rendition flights, to review their domestic law and practice, including a review of the investigations, if any, that have so far been conducted by their national authorities.
In his recommendations, Emmerson also called on the Governments of Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand to launch or re-open effective independent judicial or quasi-judicial inquiries into credible allegations that secret CIA 'black sites' were established on their territories; to identify any public officials who may have authorized or collaborated in the establishment or operation of these facilities; to publish the findings of such inquiries; and to hold the relevant officials publicly accountable for their actions.
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