Professor Davis to Participate in Panel Calling for Prosecution of Officials Responsible for Torture after September 11th
January 23, 2012
Professor Benjamin G. Davis will participate in a panel discussion hosted by Human Rights USA on Friday, January 27, at American University Washington College of Law. The event coincides with the recent release of Indefensible: A Reference for Prosecuting Torture and Other Felonies Committed by US Officials Following September 11th.
The Indefensible report is the result of a multi-year collaborative effort between Human Rights USA and the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, as well as a national network of attorneys, law professors, and law students. Professor Davis and Toledo Law students under his supervision contributed to the report.
“Repudiation of torture and accountability for the government officials who authorized it is essential in order to restore the rule of law in the United States and prevent similar acts of torture from being repeated in the future,” said Allison Lefrak, litigation director of Human Rights USA. “Our country’s legal system relies on the fundamental principle that no one is above the law – even top government officials.”
The Indefensible report is intended to serve as a practitioner's reference, addressing the domestic and international laws implicated by the actions of certain former high-ranking government officials, and laying the groundwork for litigation of those prosecutions. “Our hope is that the high-level civilians responsible for making torture official policy of the United States will be prosecuted through the appointment of a Special Counsel or through a Congressional Commission of Inquiry,” Professor Davis said.
Professor Davis organized and supervised a group of Toledo Law students - Scott Aaronson, Chungjin Chung, Tracy L. Beighley, Kathleen Davis, Holly L. Hillyer, Fatema Fathnezhad, Zachary Hillyer, Jeffrey Knight, Christine Kimberly, and Karl Timbers - whose research was incorporated into the Indefensible report.
Professor Davis has been addressing accountability for torture since early 2004 in law review articles, online articles at Jurist and other places, as a Board Member of the Human Rights Committee of the Society of American Law Teachers, and as a Member of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). He led the effort to pass the 2006 ASIL Centennial Resolution on the Use of Armed Force and the Treatment of Detainees, known as “The Davis Resolution.”
In September 2008, Professor Davis participated at a War Crimes Conference at Massachusetts College of Law for scholars and activists. At that conference he outlined how a criminal prosecution could be litigated as detailed in his article Refluat Stercus: A Citizen’s View of Criminal Prosecution in U.S. Domestic Courts of High-Level U.S. Civilian Authority and Military Generals for Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, 23 St. John’s J. Legal Commentary 503 (2008).
The report Indefensible: A Reference for Prosecuting Torture and Other Felonies Committed by US Officials Following September 11th is available from Human Rights USA.