May 26, 2005 – Amnesty International called Wednesday on all countries that are signatories to the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture to investigate top US officials suspected of developing or implementing interrogation techniques involving torture or cruel treatment of detainees.
The human rights group argued that the international community has an obligation to hold accountable those who allegedly formulated the US policies, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet and President George W. Bush.
Amnesty International asserted that more than 125 countries currently have laws allowing them to investigate and possibly arrest any foreign official traveling within their borders who has been implicated in such crimes. As an example, the organization pointed to the 1998 arrest in London of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, who was charged with human rights violations in connection with the torture and "disappearances" of thousands in his country between 1973 and 1990.
Irene Khan, Amnesty Internationalâ€™s secretary general, said in the organization's 2005 Annual Report, that the fact that the US has punished more than 100 members of its armed forces while leaving alone those higher in the chain of command "grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity."
In a related story, on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch, another international organization, accused FBI agents of threatening to transfer two US citizens being held in Pakistan to GuantÃ¡namo if they did not confess to being terrorists. The group further accused the FBI of failing to stop Pakistani authorities from torturing the men or provide the men with consular facilities while they were held for eight months without charges.