[Letter to the Honorable Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President, from John Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Regarding the Legality of Interrogation Methods to Be Used During the Current War on Terrorism, August 1, 2002]   [open pdf - 419KB]

"You have requested the views of our Office concerning the legality, under international law, of interrogation methods to be used during the current war on terrorism. More specifically, you have asked whether interrogation methods used on captured al Qaeda operatives, which do not violate the prohibition on torture found in 18 U.S.C. § 2340-2340A, would either: a) violate our obligations under the Torture Convention, or b) create the basis for a prosecution under the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). We believe that interrogation methods that comply with § 2340 would not violate our international obligations under the Torture Convention, because of a specific understanding attached by the United States to its instrument of ratification. We also conclude that actions taken as part of the interrogation of al Qaeda operatives cannot fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC, although it would be impossible to control the actions of a rogue prosecutor or judge. This letter summarizes our views; a memorandum opinion will follow that will more fully explain our reasoning."

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