According to a recent report issued by the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), the CIA may be held responsible for allegedly committing numerous war crimes, including “torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape.” Due to the fact that the Justice Department refuses to indict CIA agents who have openly committed torture and obstruction of justice, the ICC could have jurisdiction to prosecute those agents.
“Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan between 1 May 2003 and 31 December 2014,” stated the report issued Monday by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office. “The majority of the abuses are alleged to have occurred in 2003 – 2004.
“Members of the CIA appear to have subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape on the territory of Afghanistan and other State Parties to the Statute (namely Poland, Romania and Lithuania) between December 2002 and March 2008.”
In November 2002, CIA officers left black site detainee Gul Rahman beaten and half-naked from the waist down in an unheated cell overnight. Rahman ended up freezing to death in his cell. In a case of mistaken identity, German citizen Khalid El-Masri was abducted by the Macedonian police and handed over to the CIA. After months of beatings and forced rectal suppositories, El-Masri was released without charges.
Although the Senate torture report mentions Binyam Mohamed, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence neglected to investigate his allegations of torture. Arrested in Pakistan on April 10, 2002, Mohamed was transported to a CIA black site where he was beaten, burned, and suffered cuts along his torso and penis with a scalpel. The U.S. eventually dropped all charges against Mohamed and released him.
Despite the fact that the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, many of the alleged CIA war crimes occurred in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania, which are members of the ICC, giving the court jurisdiction over U.S. citizens within the agency. Since the Justice Department has repeatedly refused to prosecute any CIA agents involved in the torture and rendition program, the alleged war crimes could also fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
While investigating allegations of torture and forced rectal feedings committed by CIA officers, the ICC is currently determining whether to prosecute any U.S. citizens responsible for committing war crimes. Even though President Obama signed an executive order effectively terminating the use of torture during enhanced interrogations in 2009, president-elect Donald Trump has called for reinstituting torture against suspected terrorists and their families.
“These alleged crimes were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” the report continued. “Rather, they appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence’ from detainees. According to information available, the resort to such interrogation techniques was ultimately put to an end by the authorities concerned, hence the limited time-period during which the crimes allegedly occurred.”
Mark Swanner, the CIA interrogator responsible for the death of Manadel al-Jamadi at the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003; Matthew Zirbel, the CIA officer who killed black site detainee Gul Rahman; and Jose Rodriguez Jr., the CIA Director of National Clandestine Service who authorized the burning of 92 videotapes depicting the harsh interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and ’Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri; currently do not face criminal charges in the U.S.