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Hundreds of credible allegations of abuses against detainees
in U.S. custody abroad have not been adequately investigated or prosecuted.
In order to remedy the serious problems documented here, the
DAA Project makes the following recommendations:
Congress should appoint an independent commission to review U.S. detention and interrogation operations worldwide in the war on terror. Such a
commission should identify and analyze the systemic failures that have lead to
widespread torture and abuse, and make detailed and specific recommendations to
ensure that reforms are instituted.
The Secretary of Defense and Attorney General should order their
departments to move forward promptly with investigations of allegations of torture
and other abuse of detainees in U.S. custody abroad, to initiate prosecutions
where evidence is uncovered, and to instruct relevant authorities to ensure
that appropriate criminal action be undertaken against all persons implicated
in killings, torture, and other abuse, whatever their rank or position.
The Secretary of Defense should appoint a single, high-level,
centralized convening and prosecuting authority (i.e., a single authority who
can convene and prosecute courts-martial) across the branches of the military to
investigate all U.S. military personnelno matter their rankwho participated
in, ordered, or bear command responsibility for war crimes or torture, or other
prohibited mistreatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The creation of this
authority should be designed to bring uniformity, certainty, and a greater
degree of independent oversight to the process of discipline and punishment in
the military; it should allow for investigations and punishments of abuses at
all levels of the military. The Secretary of Defense should also issue
instructions down the military chain of command specifying that commanders
should not use administrative investigations or non-judicial hearings for
detainee cases in which claims of serious abuses including homicide, torture,
aggravated assault, or sexual abuse have been substantiated.
Congress should implement a check on officer promotions, by
requiring that each branch of the military certify, for any officer whose
promotion requires Senate confirmation, that the officer is not implicated in
any case of detainee torture, abuse, or other mistreatment, including through
the doctrine of command responsibility.