Friday, February 8, 2008

Arbour, unlike Mukasey, knows torture when she hears about it

And, she says, something can be done

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has no problem calling waterboarding torture. Once again, our moral standing in the world falls like a dropped soufflé.
Arbour made her comment in response to a question about whether U.S. officials could be tried for the use of waterboarding that referred to CIA director Michael Hayden telling Congress on Tuesday his agency had used waterboarding on three detainees captured after the September 11 attacks.

Violators of the U.N. Convention against Torture should be prosecuted under the principle of “universal jurisdiction” which allows countries to try accused war criminals from other nations, Arbour said.

“There are several precedents worldwide of states exercising their universal jurisdiction ... to enforce the torture convention and we can only hope that we will see more and more of these avenues of redress,” Arbour said.

Are there specific precedents for this? Hell, yes:
Arbour referred to an arrest warrant issued in 1998 by a Spanish judge for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who died in 2006, on charges of torture, murder and kidnapping in the years that followed his 1973 coup.

Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s were known to use waterboarding on political prisoners.

I’d pay damn good money to see an international judge issue arrest warrants for John Yoo, David Addington, Richard B. “Dick” Cheney and George W. Bush.