Revelations in CIA Torture Report Disturbing, but Release an Important Step in Accountability: John Marshall Law School International Human Rights Clinic

The revelations in the CIA’s torture report released today are disturbing but extremely important for the American and international public to learn. That’s according to Professor Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak, director of the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

“The release of this report regarding ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that amounted to torture or ill-treatment is incredibly important to the public in general and the community of human rights advocates working towards promoting accountability,” Dávila-Ruhaak said. “The report’s description of water boarding, lack of effectiveness of the use of torture techniques, sexual violence, targeting vulnerable detainees with intellectual disabilities, and the obstruction of adequate oversight confirm the human rights community’s allegations of the use of torture or ill-treatment.”

On Dec. 9, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released a report detailing years of interrogation, detention and torture techniques used by the CIA in the years following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The report was publicly released two weeks after the U.S. government received the recent concluding observations of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT). The CAT reiterated that there is an absolute prohibition on torture and stated further that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The IHRC has recommended to the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the U.S. Congress should make all reports concerning human rights violations publicly available in order to promote accountability.

The IHRC condemns the practices described in the CIA report, but looks forward to more transparency in the release of information of these practices to the public. “The publishing of reports on practices that violate human rights is a first step to establishing accountability,” Dávila-Ruhaak said.

The John Marshall Law School IHRC offers law students a background in human rights advocacy through the practical experience of working on international human rights cases and projects.

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