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Fact 15

Last updated: July 19, 2023

The next president can do a lot to further truth, justice and accountability for CIA torture.

As a champion of and a State party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the United States has embraced and reinforced obligations to prevent acts of torture; to investigate, prosecute and punish its perpetrators; to exclude evidence obtained under torture; and to refuse to send a person to a place where he or she would be at risk of being tortured. It has also assumed responsibility for ensuring that torture victims obtain redress and have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.

After the grievous failures to live up to these commitments after 9/11 and continued support for such practices from some quarters, the next President must meaningfully commit to the United States’ anti-torture obligations, including truth and accountability measures that still can, and should, be taken with respect to those subjected to the CIA torture program. Principal among these measures are:

  • Declassify and release the full Torture Report.
  • Redistribute the Torture Report throughout the executive branch and require government officials to read it and develop lessons learned.
  • Exclude from her or his administration anyone involved in managing, directly carrying out, or providing legal arguments for the CIA torture program, or for torture in U.S. military custody.
  • Acknowledge and apologize to torture program victims.
  • Ensure that torture program victims obtain redress and have access to rehabilitation services in a manner in which those services can be effective.