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Had we been warned, many of us would not have gone to Auschwitz, says survivor

January 27th, 2015
04:31 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

On the day the world marked seventy years since the liberation of Auschwitz, survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that had many Hungarian Jews been warned about the death camp, they would never have gone there in the first place.

“[In] 1944 we didn’t know Auschwitz existed. Had we known, believe me, had Roosevelt, had Churchill, on the radio stations turned to Hungarian Jews saying ‘Hungarian Jews, don’t go to the train, because the trains will lead you to Auschwitz,’ people – many of us would not have gone.

“Many wouldn’t have believed, perhaps, but wouldn’t have gone, but nobody warned us, and nobody came to our help.”

Born in Romania, Wiesel was fifteen when he was sent to Auschwitz in Poland with his family in 1944.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Germany • Latest Episode • War Crimes

CIA torture methods ‘are war crimes,’ says former Guantanamo chief prosecutor

December 9th, 2014
07:00 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

The abuses committed in the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation" program during the George W. Bush Administration were war crimes in the eyes of international law, Former Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay Colonel Morris Davis told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“These are also crimes in the international community, and we can’t, and we have no authority outside our borders to excuse this conduct so these are war crimes, are violations of the Convention against Torture.”

The U.S. Senate has for the first time laid bare the shocking wrongdoings carried out in the CIA’s network of black site detention centers between 2002 and 2008, following the September 11th attacks.

Colonel Davis said he “wasn’t shocked by the particulars and the techniques that were employed.”

“We’ve all heard about waterboarding and some of the other things that were done to the detainees as part of the program. I think what was breathtaking to the public looking at this is the quantity, the scope and the extent and the pervasiveness of this program that we’ve used for a period of time on a number of individuals.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics • War Crimes

How to prosecute a president

February 19th, 2013
10:21 AM ET

By Christiane Amanpour, CNN & ABC 

For the past 20 years, the world has been steadily working towards holding even the very highest officials accountable.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was established in 1993. It was the first war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg trials, which prosecuted Nazi leaders for genocide after World War II.

At the turn of this millennium, for the first time ever, a sitting head of state was indicted, imprisoned and tried: Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, though he died before the trial ended. But generals and foot soldiers have been convicted. And in a landmark case, rape as a weapon of war has been determined to constitute a crime against humanity.

So from Liberia to Libya, the long arm of international justice has reached out to meet people's demands to hold their leaders and their warlord’s accountability for the most heinous of crimes. It is tough, slow going and sometimes critics even say that seeking justice can get in the way of sealing peace, but Judge Theodor Meron says that there is no alternative. He is the president of the International Criminal Tribunal and has spent decades laying down the law.

You can watch my interview with Meron in the video above.

Filed under:  Latest Episode • War Crimes