In a report that analyses US practices and decisions that led to torture in Iraq and alleged abuses in Afghanistan, the rights' body on Wednesday said Washington was more concerned with getting around international laws which prohibit torture than safeguarding them.

"It is tragic that in the 'war on terror', the USA has itself undermined the rule of law. Its selective disregard for the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law has contributed to torture and ill-treatment," the Amnesty report said.

"The torture and ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees by US agents in Abu Ghraib prison was due to failure of human-rights leadership at the highest levels of government – sadly predictable," it said.

Criminal ploy

The Amnesty report further said US government documents showed that "far from ensuring that the war on terror would be conducted without resort to human-rights violations, the administration was discussing ways in which its agents might avoid the international prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".

"The war mentality the government has adopted has not been matched with a commitment to the laws of war," it added.

"Instead, the strategy of the US government has been to deny detainees prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions, and to restrict access to detainees citing military necessity, both of which have allowed abuses to go by unnoticed and largely unpunished," the report said.

The London-based global body also pointed out that when "it suited the US government, it cited Amnesty reports on torture in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but refused to address its own instances of torture".