UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Says No Impunity for CIA Torture Allegations, DOJ Vows to Defend US Officials

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, said on Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention against Torture, that the U.S. report on CIA torturing highlights the need to eradicate torture worldwide.

“As yesterday’s U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report shows, torture is still taking place in quite a few of the 156 countries that have ratified the Convention against Torture and have domestic legislation making it illegal,” Zeid said.

The convention, he added, allows “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever” for justification of torture. “The Convention lets no one off the hook – neither the torturers themselves, nor the policy-makers, nor the public officials who define the policy or give the orders.”

Zeid continued, “In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they order, enable or commit torture – recognized as a serious international crime – they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency.”

Still, the Department of Justice said Wednesday that it would work to “prevent unwarranted prosecution of U.S. officials.” Acknowledging the content of the report, the DOJ said that “the U.S. is committed to complying with its domestic and international obligations and we believe that allegations about conduct by U.S. officials are best handled through appropriate domestic mechanisms.”

The U.K.’s The Guardian reported on Wednesday that CIA officials could face arrests abroad as a result of investigations by foreign courts.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio