Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, Re: Application of United States Obligations Under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture to Certain Techniques that May Be Used in the Interrogation of High Value al Qaeda Detainees [May 30, 2005]   [open pdf - 13MB]

This U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, was recently declassified and discusses the legality of torture and interrogations techniques. The following is taken from the memo: "You have asked us to address whether certain 'enhanced interrogation techniques' employed by the Central Intelligence Agency ('CIA') in the interrogation of high value al Qaeda detainees are consistent with United States obligations under Article 16 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dec. 102 1984, S. Treaty Doc. No. lOO-20, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 (entered into force for U.S. Nov. 20, 1994) ('CAT'). We conclude that use of these techniques subject to the CIA's careful screening criteria and limitations and its medical safeguards, is consistent with United States obligations under Article 16. By its terms, Article 16 is limited to conduct within 'territory under [United States] jurisdiction.' We conclude that territory under United States jurisdiction includes, at most, areas over which the United States exercises at least de facto authority as the government. Based on CIA assurances, we understand that the interrogations do not take place in any such areas. We therefore conclude that Article 16 is inapplicable to the CIA's interrogation practices and that those practices thus cannot violate Article 16. Further, the United States undertook its obligations under Article 16 subject to a Senate reservation, which as relevant here, explicitly limits those obligations to 'the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment... prohibited by the Fifth Amendment...to the Constitution of the United States.' There is a strong argument that through this reservation the Senate intended to limit the scope of United States obligations under Article 16 to those imposed by the relevant provisions of the Constitution. As construed-by the courts, the Fifth Amendment does not apply to aliens outside the United States."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations