Contact: Mandis Keshavarz, Riptide Communications
CCR ATTORNEYS RESPOND TO SCHLESINGER ABU GHRAIB REPORT CCR SEEKS MORE EVIDENCE FOR ITS SUIT AGAINST PRIVATE CONTRACTORS
August 24, 2004, New York — Attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) call for an independent investigation into the atrocities at Abu Ghraib similar to the 9/11 Commission and for criminal charges to be filed against those officials responsible for the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.
Schlesinger’s report apparently cites a lack of leadership and oversight, but does not assign direct blame to higher officials. This is still enough to require a criminal investigation. Under U.S. law, an official with command responsibility for military personnel is guilty of a war crime if “they knew or should have known” that those under their command were breaking the law and failed to prevent or punish them.
Moreover, CCR believes high-level officials are, in fact, directly to blame for the abuses: said CCR President Michael Ratner, “the torture memos leaked earlier this summer demonstrate the Bush administration’s thinking; the torture represents its actions. The two cannot be separated. There is no reason to believe the memos were written and discarded; they were acted upon and those actions resulted in Abu Ghraib.”
For almost two years stories of torture and homicide under interrogation have been reported in the press; said CCR Legal Director Jeffrey E. Fogel, “if the Bush administration and Pentagon officials had not been involved in the systematic use of torture there would have been a full investigation a long time ago.”
CCR represented the Guantanamo detainees in the Supreme Court and has filed suit against the independent contractors CACI, Inc. and Titan alleging their personnel were involved in the torture at Abu Ghraib.