Wednesday, December 06, 2006

US: Justice Dept. Brings First Charges for Torture Abroad

It was announced today that the United States Justice Department has arrested a U.S. citizen for human rights abuses committed abroad. This is the first time the U.S. has pressed criminal charges against a citizen for torture outside the country.
More specifically, Charles “Chuckie” Taylor, Jr., son of the former Liberian president, was detained in Miami for committing human rights abuses in Liberia during his father’s presidency. Taylor was responsible for an elite anti-terrorist unit that has been accused of committing various violent assaults, rape, beating people to death and burning civilians alive. “Today’s first-ever charges for torture committed abroad are a crucial step by the US government to ensure justice for this crime,” said Elise Keppler, counsel with Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program. “It is especially significant for Liberian victims of Chuckie Taylor’s alleged abuses. After years of civil war, Liberia’s justice system is in no shape to pursue this type of case.”
While this is indeed an important moment for the U.S. Judiciary System, I wonder how this could affect Americans who have been accused of similar crimes abroad. I think this is especially relevant considering our classes’ ongoing debate about CIA “black sites.”

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