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ICC studying CIA torture report 'very, very closely'

The ICC is taking a close look at the report and will determine next steps, especially incidents in Afghanistan where the court has jurisdiction
US officials say there will be no further criminal probes into allegations of CIA torture

NEW YORK - The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor is studying a US Senate report on the CIA's torture of terrorism suspects “very, very closely”, she told Middle East Eye on Thursday.

“We’re looking at the report. We’re looking at the report very, very closely. And we will determine what to do, especially if it relates to our jurisdiction in Afghanistan,” said Fatou Bensouda. “This is what we’re doing now; we’re looking at it very, very closely.”

In December, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a five-year review of 6.3 million pages of CIA documents that described waterboarding, week-long bouts of sleep deprivation and a technique of “rectal feeding” being used on detainees.

The CIA interrogation programme was devised by two agency contractors to squeeze information from suspects after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Interrogations took place in countries that included Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.

ICC prosecutors revealed that they were examining alleged crimes in Afghanistan in 2007. This preliminary examination now includes the “enhanced interrogation techniques” of “US senior commanders” in Afghanistan from 2003-04, said the ICC’s 2014 report. 

Such techniques could “amount to cruel treatment, torture or outrages upon personal dignity” last year’s ICC report added.

The US has not ratified the ICC treaty and is not a member of the court. But the ICC has had jurisdiction in Afghanistan since May 2003 and can probe Afghans and foreigners alleged to have carried out crimes in the country from that time.

US officials say there will be no further criminal probes into allegations of CIA torture. After the release of the US Senate’s report, President Barack Obama said the country should “leave these techniques where they belong - in the past”. 

Speaking with MEE on Thursday, Bensouda said she was also monitoring how US officials had reacted to the Senate’s CIA torture report.

“It’s important to take note of any other thing related to the report that has been done, or said, and at the end of it we shall decide which way to go. But it’s very early now for me to take a position,” she told MEE. 

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