Thursday, August 10, 2006

Amendments to the War Crimes Act, drafted by the Bush administration, will retroactively indemnify policymakers and government officials from criminal charges for authorizing abuse and torture of prisoners captured in the War on Terrorism campaign.

The White House stated that these amendments “will apply to any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed before or after the law is enacted.” The amendments are intended to be put before Congress after Labor Day, said two anonymous sources claimed to be lawyers currently revising the Act.

According to Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, “I think what this bill can do is in effect immunize past crimes. That’s why it’s so dangerous.” Scott Horton, a fourth attorney examining the amendments, remarked, “The administration is trying to insulate policymakers under the War Crimes Act.”

Currently, the War Crimes Act of 1996 includes the use of capital punishment should prisoners held in U.S. camps die from abuse while detained.

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