END IMPUNITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR SEXUAL TORTURE
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In the days following September 11, the Bush administration systematized the use of torture. These methods of interrogation were deployed in Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq in Abu Ghraib. A recent investigation suggests that torture was also practiced in “black sites”-- secret American prisons spread across the world on several continents (like Kandahar in Afghanistan) and especially in Europe.
In these prisons, the United States also practiced sexual torture. The victims were systematically humiliated, raped and sexually assaulted, using methods validated at the highest level of American power.
These methods of torture were devised and set up as a system around which the US has built a legal wall of impunity that goes against all international rules, beginning with the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention, as our investigation shows. Thus, in spite of numerous attempts, no trial allowed to punish the architects of these crimes ever.
#SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HUMILIATION AS TOOLS OF TORTURE
“We were standing in a single file line. They pulled down our pants and raped us, one by one. I don’t know what they put up our bums, but it was extremely brutal. It tore me up. Then, they sprayed us with a high-pressure hose and threw us on top of each other in a mountain of naked men. The whole time, they were taking pictures of us,” testifies Nizar Sassi, one of the 6 “Guantanamo Frenchmen”.
While waterboarding has been treated in the media as a symbol of American torture, sexual assault and humiliation have always been in the background. Violated, washed with high-pressure hose, thrown on a mountain of naked men, photos of naked women stapled on the chest. The testimonies of our investigation are overwhelming (read the investigation). Other testimonies involving abusive, repeated and violent rectal inspections corroborate these facts.
Sexual violence is the most violent and long-lasting traumatic experience for a victim. Sexual violence is physically destructive, but psychologically it also constitutes a real act of torture. Torture cannot be tolerated regardless of the context of urgency faced by a nation. The United States Constitution prohibits the government from using “cruel and unusual punishment” and the UN Convention Against Torture states that torture is a violation of international human rights law. And contrary to popular belief, torture is never effective.
#NO ISOLATED ACTS BUT A TRUE SYSTEM
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney (Vice President), Donald Rumsfeld (Defense Minister) and Condoleezza Rice (Security Advisor) organized or endorsed this system of torture. Experts, lawyers, doctors, intelligence and military staff were mobilized specifically to design and implement this "sexual weapon". These officials must be prosecuted for war crimes and non-compliance with the Geneva Convention by the International Criminal Court.
Asked about the potential to hold the former Bush administration and the architects of torture accountable for their actions, Barack Obama recently replied that "we must look to the future and not return to the past". During the campaign trail, Donald Trump claimed “torture works,” promising to fill Guantanamo and allow the worst forms of torture to continue in the name of “freedom”. This is obviously not acceptable.
As determined producers and filmmakers, we believe that everyone has a responsibility to change the mentalities and systems that perpetuate impunity. Because those in power have not lived up to the challenge of recognizing the serious mistakes of the past, Nicolas, Stéphane and I (Marion) decided to launch the ZERO IMPUNITY movement so that these crimes do not go unpunished and happen again.
#TOGETHER SUPPORT THE ICC, STRUGGLE AGAINST DIPLOMATIC PRESSURES AND ALLOW JUSTICE TO BE REALIZED
At the ICC, a preliminary investigation into the crimes related to the armed conflict in Afghanistan calls into question the practices of torture and sexual violence used by the US military. Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor, said in the latest annual report on ICC preliminary examinations that "members of the US Army and the CIA used methods that constituted war crimes, torture, cruel treatment, attacks on the dignity of the person and rape".
We must mobilize so that the preliminary examination leads to an investigation and trial. The ICC is under diplomatic pressure from the United States, but with support from the American people and people around the world, we can stand up to torture.
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