[Ppnews] National Lawyers Guild calls on Boalt to dismiss John Yoo

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 9 11:55:57 EDT 2008


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 9, 2008



Contact: Marjorie Cohn, NLG President, 
<mailto:marjorie at tjsl.edu>marjorie at tjsl.edu; 619-374-6923

                Heidi Boghosian, NLG Executive Director, 
<mailto:director at nlg.org>director at nlg.org; 212-679-5100, x11

NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD CALLS ON BOALT HALL TO DISMISS LAW PROFESSOR 
JOHN YOO, WHOSE TORTURE MEMOS LED TO COMMISSION OF WAR CRIMES

New York. In a memorandum written the same month George W. Bush 
invaded Iraq, Boalt Hall law professor John Yoo said the Department 
of Justice would construe US criminal laws not to apply to the 
President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants. 
According to Yoo, the federal statutes against torture, assault, 
maiming and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of the war.

The federal maiming statute, for example, makes it a crime for 
someone "with the intent to torture, maim, or disfigure" to "cut, 
bite, or slit the nose, ear or lip, or cut out or disable the tongue, 
or put out or destroy an eye, or cut off or disable a limb or any 
member of another person."  It further prohibits individuals from 
"throwing or pouring upon another person any scalding water, 
corrosive acid, or caustic substance" with like intent.

Yoo also narrowed the definition of torture so the interrogator must 
kill the person or cause organ failure or permanent loss of 
significant body functions in order to constitute torture; Yoo's 
definition contravenes the definition in the Convention Against 
Torture, a treaty the US has ratified which is thus part of the US 
law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause. Yoo said self-defense 
or necessity could be used as a defense to war crimes prosecutions 
for torture, notwithstanding the Torture Convention's absolute 
prohibition against torture in all circumstances, even in wartime. 
This memo and another Yoo wrote with Jay Bybee in August 2002 
provided the basis for the Administration's torture of prisoners.

"John Yoo's complicity in establishing the policy that led to the 
torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes 
Act," said National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn.

Congress should repeal the provision of the Military Commissions Act 
that would give Yoo immunity from prosecution for torture committed 
from September 11, 2001 to December 30, 2005. John Yoo should be 
disbarred and he should not be retained as a professor of law at one 
of the country's premier law schools. John Yoo should be dismissed 
from Boalt Hall and tried as a war criminal.

The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 as an alternative to 
the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, 
the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public 
interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its 
headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.




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