NEW YORK - An international human rights group has called for a full-scale investigation into post-9/11 detainee abuse, including the use of waterboarding, after the US justice department on Friday just reprimanded two senior George W Bush era lawyers who approved the use of torture at Guantanamo Bay. The department found the two lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee, guilty of poor judgment but not professional misconduct. The lawyers wrote controversial memorandums dating from 2002 after the 9/11 attacks that provided legal cover for the CIA to use torture and other harsh interrogation techniques. The New York-based Human Right Watch (HRW) said that the conclusion of the Justice Department report, which marks a significant softening of the original draft, was disappointing. Justice Department lawyers have an obligation to uphold the law, so when they write legal opinions that were designed to provide legal cover for torture, they need to be held accountable with more than a slap on the wrist, said Andrea Prasow, senior counter-terrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. Despite failing to find the former Justice Department lawyers responsible for misconduct, the Justice Department report nevertheless provides strong evidence indicating that the authors of these legal opinions should be investigated for their role in facilitating torture, Prasow said. Last minute changes in the Justice Departments findings should not stop state bars from investigating whether these men violated their ethical obligations as lawyers. The lawyers, who were responsible for the notorious torture memos that sought to provide legal cover for US interrogators to use abusive interrogation techniques such as slamming detainees against walls, long-term sleep deprivation, stress positions and waterboarding, HRW said. The latter practice has been prosecuted as a war crime in the United States for more than 100 years. The torture memos not only served as the legal rationale for an illegal interrogation policy, they are now being used by the Obama Administration to limit accountability for serious crimes, Human Rights Watch said. Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that in investigating post-9/11 detainee abuse, the Justice Department will not prosecute those who acted in good faith according to the legal guidance they received. At the same time, Human Rights Watch noted that the Bush administrations authorisation of abusive techniques such as waterboarding began before the issuance of the so-called torture memos and can still be investigated and prosecuted even within the limited scope of the Justice Departments current inquiry. Human Rights Watch urged the Obama administration to avoid setting a precedent that would allow any future president to immunize himself from prosecution for unlawful actions simply by persuading a politically appointed lawyer to draft a secret opinion authorising those actions. Human Rights Watch also called for a full and public accounting of post-9/11 abuses via a non-partisan commission of inquiry. Despite Justice Department reports and several congressional inquiries and military reports that have looked into detainee abuse, there has never been a comprehensive public inquiry into the abuses, and investigations have either lacked independence from the executive branch or access to necessary documentary and testimonial evidence. Even this long-awaited report, it pointed out, was delayed for months as the Obama Administration allowed the former Justice Department attorneys own lawyers the opportunity to review and comment on the report a second time. To date, the US record on accountability for detainee abuse has been abysmal, Human Rights Watch said, adding it has collected information regarding some 350 cases of abuse involving more than 600 US personnel. Despite numerous and systematic abuses, not a single CIA official has been held to account, and few military personnel have faced meaningful punishment, it said.