October 22th, 2016
CAMBRIDGE, MA — On October 21, 2016, a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit (Al Shimari v. CACI) brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of four Abu Ghraib torture victims against CACI Premier Technology, Inc., a private military contractor alleged to be responsible for the inhumane treatment.
U.S. military investigators had concluded that several CACI interrogators conspired with U.S. soldiers, who were later court martialed, to “soften” detainees for interrogations and that this contributed to “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses.” Carr Center’s Senior Fellow Alberto Mora was one of several third parties to file amicus briefs with the Fourth Circuit in support of reinstating the lawsuit by which Abu Ghraib torture victims seek to obtain civil remedies from the contractor that allegedly inflicted their torture.
“The court can and must adjudicate the case,” had said Mora in his amicus brief. Failure to do so would cause massive damage to our national identity and values, our laws and legal system, our foreign policy and national security interests, and to the architecture of international human rights. In the United States, our independent courts were founded on the proposition that they should neither be completely submissive to the military nor willing to become submissive by disregarding the clear mandates of the law. Whether this proposition continues to be true is put to the test in this appeal.”
The reinstatement of the Al Shimari lawsuit will have significant impacts moving forward. According to Mora, “This ruling will in all probability lead to an on-the-merits trial of the allegations of torture in this case. The Fourth Circuit’s opinion represents a clear win for the rule of law, for the imposition of some accountability for the official use of cruelty after 9/11, and for the future enforceability of the prohibition against torture."
About Alberto Mora
Alberto Mora is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He retired in 2013 as vice president, secretary, and general counsel of Mars, Inc. He is the former general counsel of the United States Navy where he led an effort within the Defense Department to bring an end to the use of torture and official cruelty in the treatment of prisoners in military custody. He began his career as a foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State.
Alberto was honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2006. Under the administration of George H. W. Bush, Alberto served as the general counsel to the United States Information Agency. President Bill Clinton appointed him to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
About the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
The Carr Center is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to realize global justice through theory, policy, and practice. Research, courses, fellowships, public events, and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the core of the Center.
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