karl_lembke (karl_lembke) wrote,

Geneva Conventions and Gitmo

This article at Tech Central Station examines the impact of the Pentagon's decision:
...to adopt a key article of the four Geneva Conventions for Guantanamo Bay detainees...
Andrew Apostolou considers it an important step.
by fully embracing the Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1949, the United States can bring prisoners to justice without granting them the status of POWs. Such an approach can keep the Supreme Court content, by applying accepted procedures; can fit with the Bush Administration's judicial conservatism, by avoiding needless innovation; and will outflank so-called human rights activists who fancy themselves as defenders of the Geneva Conventions.

Moreover, under Geneva rules, the United States can legitimately intern captives without trial for as long as the al-Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban allies keep the conflict going. Unlike Human Rights Watch, that called for Taliban prisoners to be freed three years ago, the Third Geneva Convention only demands release and repatriation "after the cessation of active hostilities." As the Taliban are still fighting, the United States can now hold its prisoners for the duration, no questions asked.

Adopting the Third Geneva Convention will oblige Bush Administration lawyers to tear down the ill-advised 'Gitmo Law' established over the past four years. The American desire to prevent terrorists from exploiting the laws of war to legitimize their crimes was entirely reasonable -- the war against terrorism does not easily fit existing definitions of war. But it has failed, and Gitmo Law did not make the United States more secure. Quite the contrary, it has been legally dubious and diplomatically indefensible.
Tags: politics

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