Retroactive War Crime Protection DraftedBy PETE YOST
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, according to lawyers who have seen the proposal.
The move by the administration is the latest effort to deal with treatment of those taken into custody in the war on terror.
At issue are interrogations carried out by the CIA, and the degree to which harsh tactics such as water-boarding were authorized by administration officials. A separate law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, applies to the military.
The White House, without elaboration, said in a statement that the bill "will apply to any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed before or after the law is enacted."
Two attorneys said that the draft is in the revision stage but that the administration seems intent on pushing forward the draft's major points in Congress after Labor Day. The two attorneys spoke on condition of anonymity because their sources did not authorize them to release the information.
"I think what this bill can do is in effect immunize past crimes. That's why it's so dangerous," said a third attorney, Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice.