Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are the preeminent human rights organizations in the world. As go HRW and Amnesty, so goes the rest of the human rights movement.
So, I was very happy to see that Amnesty has followed HRW in calling for some kind of accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses during the Bush years.
Amnesty is calling for; criminal investigations into rendition and secret detention programs, a rejection of immunity for perpetrators of torture and other crimes, full disclosure of the names, fates, and whereabouts of disappeared persons, redress for victims, and, most importantly because the rest depend on it, the creation of an independent commission –a truth commission, but Amnesty doesn’t use that term.
HRW does, however:
Ensure the establishment of a nonpartisan investigatory commission (“truth commission”), equipped with subpoena powers and adequate funding to investigate and publicly report on post-9/11 counterterrorism-related abuses, recommend how those responsible should be held accountable, and specify steps to ensure that such abuses are never repeated.
I hope both organizations set aside time, staff, and money to see that this is a major priority. It’s necessary for so, so many reasons, and I can’t think of a more opportune time to impanel a truth commission than this coming spring, when the Obama Administration will be new and flush with political capital.