Human Rights Watch: Prosecute Bush for Torture

The group calls on foreign governments to "reaffirm the primacy of the rule of law"

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One of the most vocal human rights groups in the U.S. is calling on foreign governments to prosecute President George W. Bush and his former cabinet for war crimes, given that the Obama administration has avoided the issue. In a report published today, New York-based Human Rights Watch says Bush, former vice president Dick Cheney, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA director George Tenet could be prosecuted under the 1996 War Crimes Act, among other laws. "There is enough strong evidence from the information made public over the past five years to not only suggest these officials authorized and oversaw widespread and serious violations of US and international law, but that they failed to act to stop mistreatment, or punish those responsible after they became aware of serious abuses," read the report. It accused the Bush administration of approving waterboarding, authorizing the CIA's detention program and carrying out illegal abductions involving torture, saying an investigation is necessary "if the US hopes to wipe away the stain of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo and reaffirm the primacy of the rule of law." The author of the report, Reed Brody, says he's calling on an investigation now because "[i]t's become abundantly clear that there is no longer any movement on the part of the Obama administration to live up to its responsibilities to investigate these cases." As the BBC notes, President Bush has "defended some of the techniques, saying they prevented attacks and saved lives."

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