GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The United Nations is among groups calling for prosecution of U.S. officials after the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's disclosures about CIA torture of al-Qaida suspects.
Ben Emmerson, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, said that senior officials who sanctioned crimes should be prosecuted, as well as CIA and government officials responsible for torture.
"As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The U.S. Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible," Emmerson said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who banned the torture practices after assuming office in 2009, said in a statement after the report's release he sought to "leave these techniques where they belong, in the past."
The American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement, suggested a special prosecutor be appointed to conduct an investigation.
"Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of officials, torture will remain a 'policy option' for future presidents," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of the activist group Human Rights Watch.
The Senate report could pave the way for progress in legal cases, in the United States and Europe, against CIA officials. Wolfgang Kaleck of Berlin's European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights suggested lawyers will study the report for indications that incidents of torture were a matter of policy, and not the work of misbehaving employees.
"The gaps have been between the CIA agents involved and the higher-ups conducting this policy. It would hopefully allow us to argue for command responsibility for torture," he told Time magazine.