Waterboarding Violates UN Torture Law

Official urges nations to prosecute, but doesn't point finger
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2008 11:30 PM CST
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, left, talks with CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, prior to testifying before the House Intelligence...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A top UN official said today that CIA waterboarding constitutes a war crime, but she stopped short of accusing Washington directly. "I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture," Louise Arbour said. Her comment comes days after CIA chief Michael Hayden admitted that operatives have used the practice on terror suspects, Reuters reports.

Nations can try war crime suspects from other countries under the "universal jurisdiction" rule of a UN torture ban, Arbour said in Mexico City. "There are several precedents worldwide of states exercising their universal jurisdiction to enforce the torture convention," she said. "We can only hope that we will see more and more of these avenues of redress."