November 14, 2014
The international community watched closely this week as representatives from the U.S. government defended its compliance with the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in front of the United Nations Committee against Torture...Groups like the Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions say that the United States is shielding those responsible, which is in direct violation of its CAT obligations. “It’s is at the heart of everything,” Deborah Popowski, a clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and a member of Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions said in an interview with Newsweek. Referring to what she called the “legal framework the U.S. government built to shield itself from liability” (a mixture of legal opinions that distort laws governing torture and the use of the Military Commissions Act to retroactively redefine war crimes to impede prosecution), she added that by “choosing to immunize those responsible, [the U.S. government] legitimizes their actions and the legacy lives on, the precedent is set.”
January 1, 2010
Coercive interrogations inflict discomfort or pain with the goal of eliciting information. Yet all too often, says Deborah Popowski ’08, those involved in such interrogations are supposed to be helping people, not hurting them.