United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — torture
There is no right of action for damages against soldiers and others in the chain of command who abusively interrogate or mistreat military prisoners, or fail to prevent improper detention and interrogation.
“The Detainee Treatment Act can be—and has been—enforced by criminal prosecutions. The Department of Defense has procedures for reporting claims of abuse; these procedures require all reports to be investigated and require prosecution to follow substantiated reports. See Army Regulation 190–8 at §§ 1–5, 3–16, 6–9; DoD Directives 5100.77, 2311.01E. Failure by military personnel to follow these procedures is a court-martial offense. 10 U.S.C. §892. Abusive interrogation in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to courts-martial. Injunctions that enforce the Detainee Treatment Act prospectively may be possible under the doctrine of Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), or the waiver of sovereign immunity in 5 U.S.C. §702. But Congress has not authorized awards of damages against soldiers and their superiors, and creating a right of action in common-law fashion would intrude inappropriately into the military command structure.”
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Andersen, J., Easterbrook, J.