Former Army JAG Prosecutor at Guantanamo and Human Rights Experts Discuss Accountability for Torture and Military Justice Reforms

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  • Dale Eisman

Common Cause, President Carter and high-ranking military officials commend whistleblowers who exposed torture policy

Common Cause and the National Press Club on Friday will co-host a panel around the issue of torture of detainees, the legal national and international venues for accountability, and new military justice reforms Congress is considering. The panel will feature a former Army JAG prosecutor who resigned his Guantanamo post in protest, as well as human and civil rights experts.

Common Cause will also release a letter of commendation to military and civilian officials who resisted and fought against the torture policies, often at great personal cost. The letter is signed by more than 16,000 people, including President Carter and ranking retired military officials.

Newsmaker Details

Who:Lt. Col. Vandeveld, former Army JAG Prosecutor, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Scott Horton, Columbia Law School professor

Elisa Massimino, CEO, Human Rights First

Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause

What: National Press Club Newsmaker press conference

When: 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 16

Where: The Murrow Room, 13th floor, National Press Building, 529 14th St., N.W.

During the last decade, a close circle of insiders within the previous Administration developed policies and a legal framework to systematically circumvent the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law regarding the treatment, interrogation, and trial of foreign detainees.

They did this largely in secret and over the objections of many of their colleagues. As a result detainees in U.S. custody were tortured in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and undisclosed “black” sites around the world in violation of U.S. and international law.

Lt. Col. Vandeveld will speak about his experience as a prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, why he resigned that post and what must be done to restore the rule of law and integrity to the military justice system. Elisa Massimino will discuss whether the current reforms in the FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill being considered by Congress will adequately reform the military justice system. Scott Horton will review the various U.S. legal venues for accountability such as the Department of Justice probes and the international efforts such as the current criminal investigation of Bush era attorneys by the Spanish Judiciary operating under the “universal jurisdiction doctrine.”

Common Cause on Thursday released a letter signed by 15,000 citizens, President Carter and ranking retired military commending military and civilian officials who resisted and fought against the torture policies — often at great personal cost. Recipients of the commendation letter include Vandeveld, Col Steve Kleinman, Col. Brittain Mallow, Deputy Commander Mark Fallon, former U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora and Lt. Col. Stuart Couch.