The Senate torture report released this week could lead to war crimes charges against George W. Bush and other architects of the torture program after the lawyer for one brutalized Guantanamo Bay detainee has raised the idea of pressing charges.
Mustafa Hawsawi, who is one of five defendants in the 9/11 case, was named in the report after allegedly suffering “rectal exams were carried out with ‘excessive force.'”
“CIA records indicate that one of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, was later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse,” the report read.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hawsawi’s lawyer said his client suffered torture so painful that he can no longer sit on his own and must sit on a pillow during court appearances.
In the article, Hawsawi’s lawyer Walter Ruiz brought up the idea of war crimes charges:
“I was shocked, in a way – even though I already had some knowledge of the facts. The manner in which it was described, and some of the language that was used in those cables and emails, just made it even more horrible. It was so callous. Particularly, there was that one comment about the food tray. [Ruiz is referencing a line in the report that reads: “Majid Khan’s ‘lunch tray,’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.”] Clearly that conduct would be considered war crimes. And even I didn’t have the full extent of those details.”
Ruiz noted that Hawsawi had not spoken much about what he endured, but once he learned about what Hawsawi endured, he found it horrific:
“And my read of that is – I mean, we call that sodomy. That’s the equivalent of sodomizing someone. When you piece together the report and look at the different comments that were made – one comment was that they used the largest tube they could find – it’s not surprising he would not talk openly about something so horrific.”
While Ruiz didn’t specifically name George W. Bush when discussing war crimes, many others have called on the former president to be charged for overseeing the torture program. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, said all former Bush officials involved in the torture program should be charged.
“The heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorization of these crimes,” he wrote. “Former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the programme should also face criminal prosecution for their acts.”
But others say that the Senate torture report is unlikely to lead to war crimes charges for George W. Bush or any others involved in overseeing the program, largely because the countries that would have to bring forward the charges are reliant on the United States for economic and military support.