The Justice Department has finished sweeping the crimes of the Bush administration under the rug. Senior officials developed and implemented an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to abuse that clearly violated the law by any measure. But today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will close its investigation into the CIA’s torture and abuse of detainees without bringing charges.
Responding to the disappointing news, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said:
That the Justice Department will hold no one accountable for the killing of prisoners in CIA custody is nothing short of a scandal. The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it. It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable.
Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment and sends the dangerous signal to government officials that there will be no consequences for their use of torture and other cruelty. Today’s decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record.
The rule of law demands that we hold senior officials accountable for the crimes committed. While President Obama himself has repudiated the use of torture, the best way to prevent it from recurring is to hold those responsible to account for their heinous and illegal actions.