| GEO World|
| EU may investigate Bush officials over prisoner treatment|
| Updated at: 0925 PST, Wednesday, April 22, 2009|
BERLIN: European prosecutors are likely to investigate CIA and Bush administration officials on suspicion of violating an international ban on torture if they are not held legally accountable at home, according to U.N. officials and human rights lawyers.
Many European officials and civil liberties groups said they were disappointed by President Obama's opposition to trials of CIA interrogators who subjected terrorism suspects to waterboarding and other harsh tactics.
Some European countries, under a legal principle known as universal jurisdiction, have adopted laws giving themselves the authority to investigate torture, genocide and other human rights crimes anywhere in the world, even if their citizens are not involved. While it is rare for prosecutors to win such cases, those targeted can face arrest if they travel abroad.
Martin Scheinin, the U.N. special investigator for human rights and counterterrorism, said the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration clearly violated international law. He said the lawyers who wrote the Justice Department memos, as well as senior figures such as former vice president Richard B. Cheney, will probably face legal trouble overseas if they avoid prosecution in the United States.
On Tuesday, Obama for the first time raised the possibility of creating a bipartisan commission to examine the Bush administration's handling of terrorism suspects. He also said he would leave it up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to determine whether to prosecute senior officials who approved waterboarding and other tactics.