3 April 2009

Impunity for Torture: The Long-Desired End or Continuity?

3 April 2009, 12:00 am

Soon after his election, the new US president Barack Obama made several decisions indicating discontinuity with the policies of his predecessor George W. Bush and honouring his pre-election promises.  Among these decisions was the suspension of trials against terror suspects, the closing of the detention camp Guantanamo within one year and the closing of secret prisons known as ‘dark sides’.

Nevertheless, several questions remain unanswered. The fate of approximately 200 detainees still imprisoned in Guantanamo, as well as the scope of their right to demand a review of their detention through civil courts, remain unclear. Likewise, there have been no clarifications concerning the situation of detainees held captive in other detention facilities. Moreover, it is still undecided whether the Obama administration will try to investigate into the war crimes committed by the Bush administration through ‘Truth Commissions’ and congressional hearings or whether the Bush administration will be held criminally responsible for their crimes.  

The speakers will discuss current legal and political developments in the US and Europe:

Michael Ratner, Attorney and President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York, Member of the Executive Board of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Berlin

Pardiss Kebriaei, Attorney, Global Justice Initiative of the CCR, New York

Andrea Würdinger, Attorney, President of the Republican Lawyers Association (RAV), Berlin

Wolfgang Kaleck, Attorney, Secretary-General of the ECCHR, Berlin

Moderation: Carsten Gericke, Attorney, Executive Director of the RAV


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