Guantánamo Lawyers Urge International Criminal Court to Investigate US Torture Program

An image produced by AMICC (the American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court), which advocates for US participation in the ICC. The image was produced in 2016, in an article about the ICC's possible investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, including those in which US forces were involved.Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.


Ever since evidence first emerged of the US’s post-9/11 torture program — most conspicuously, via the photos of abuse in Abu Ghraib that were revealed in 2004, and the network of CIA “black sites” that were first revealed in the media in late 2005 — opponents of torture have sought to hold accountable those responsible for implementing torture in its various forms: in the CIA’s global network of “black sites,” in proxy prisons in other countries, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at Guantánamo.

Their efforts have persistently been thwarted. President Obama, notoriously, used the “state secrets doctrine” to prevent torture victims from having their day in the US court system (check out the Jeppesen case in 2010, for example), and, earlier that year, after an internal Justice Department investigation into John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who wrote and approved the notorious “torture memos” of 2002 that purported to re-define torture so that it could be used by the CIA, concluded that they were guilty of “professional misconduct,” the Obama administration allowed a DoJ fixer to override that conclusion, deciding instead that they had merely exercised “poor judgment.”

In December 2014, an important step towards the truth came with the publication of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention program (the Senate torture report, as it is more colloquially known), which delivered a devastating verdict on the program, even if it was not empowered to hold anyone accountable. And last August, there was good news when James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, former military psychologists who had developed the torture program for the CIA, settled out of court — for a significant, but undisclosed amount — with several survivors of the rendition and torture program, and the family of another man, Gul Rahman, who had died in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Listen to Benjamin Ferencz, the Last Nuremberg Prosecutor, Explain His Implacable Opposition to War

A photo from the Einsatzgruppen (mobile SS death squad) trial as part of the Nuremberg trials on September 15, 1947, at which Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, was the chief prosecutor, at the age of 27. Standing is Otto Ohlendorf, the commander of one of the detah squads, delivering a plea of "not guilty." He was subsequently found guilty, and hanged.So the sabre-rattling in the West has begun yet again, cruelly and idiotically calling for more bombing in Syria, one of the most devastated countries in the world, in response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris — even though the terrorists were European citizens, and even though the ongoing war in Syria has, to date, created a refugee crisis unprecedented in modern history. In response, I’m hoping that anyone interested in peace — and in understanding the true horrors of war — will find the time to listen to a profoundly enlightening interview I came across by chance last Friday, on the 70th anniversary of the day the Nuremberg trials began.

On BBC Radio 4, the PM programme interviewed Benjamin Ferencz, 95, the last surviving prosecutor from the trials, who was just 27 years old when, in 1947, he became the Chief Prosecutor in the ninth of the twelve Nuremberg trials, of 24 officers of the Einsatzgruppen, mobile SS death squads, who operated behind the front line in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. and who, from 1941 to 1943 alone, murdered more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of other people, including gypsies and the disabled.

Ferencz’s testimony about what he witnessed at the liberation of the Nazis’ death camps, and his experience of the trials — and his subsequent conviction that he had to devote his life to peace — ought to be required listening for everyone, from our politicians to every single one of our fellow citizens. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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