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Friday, January 13, 2006

Command Responsibility?

Published on Thursday, January 12, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith 
  
A jury verdict in Memphis late last year caused little stir among the general public, but it may have caught the attention of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and other high officials of the Bush administration. The jury found Colonel Nicolas Carranza, former Vice Minister of Defense of El Salvador and now a U.S. citizen living in Memphis, responsible for overseeing the torture and killing in that country 25 years ago (1). Could similar charges be brought against high U.S. officials for the actions of their subordinates in Abu Ghraib, Falluja, and Guantanamo?
 
Carranza was sued by victims of armed forces under his control. The jury applied the principle of ?command responsibility,? which holds a superior legally responsible for human rights abuses by subordinates if the official knew or should have known about them and failed to prevent them or punish those who committed them.
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