Daily archives: September 15, 2006

The battle for international law continues in the US

From CNN International

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted 15-9 to recommend a bill – over the objections of the Bush administration – that would authorize tribunals for terror suspects in a way that it says would protect suspects’ rights.

The bill was backed by Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

It differs from the administration’s proposal in two major ways: It would permit terror suspects to view classified evidence against them and does not include a proposal that critics say reinterprets a Geneva Conventions rule that prohibits cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees.

In a decision earlier this summer, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration must meet Article III standards in its treatment of detainees.

Article III prohibits nations engaged in combat not of “an international character” from, among other things, “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”


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Bush’s reversals in war on terrorism: There is still hope for the US legal sytem

From Reuters

A Senate committee rebelled against U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday, passing a bill it said would protect the rights of foreign terrorism suspects and repair a U.S. image damaged by harsh treatment of detainees.

Here are some other areas in which the Bush administration’s war on terrorism has been dealt setbacks:


The Supreme Court in June rejected as illegal the military tribunal system set up by the Bush administration to try Guantanamo prisoners, most of whom were captured in Afghanistan. The court said the tribunals — an alternative legal system — lacked congressional authorisation and did not meet U.S. military or international justice standards.


After the September 11 attacks, Bush directed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant when in pursuit of suspected terrorists. But a federal judge in Detroit this year ruled the program illegal. Bush has appealed. The case is expected to end up in the Supreme Court.


Bush this month publicly acknowledged the CIA had held high-level terrorism suspects, including alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in secret overseas locations. He announced Mohammed and 13 others were transferred recently to the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention centre run by the Pentagon to be prosecuted in the future. Bush strongly defended the secret detention and questioning of terrorism suspects and said the CIA treated them humanely and did not torture. The detention program, disclosed last year by The Washington Post, provoked an international outcry.


Earlier this month, Iraq regained control of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, known for a prisoner abuse scandal involving U.S. troops. Photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqis at the prison in western Baghdad in 2003 made it a touchstone for Arab and Muslim rage over the U.S. occupation. The conviction of several low-ranking American soldiers for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 — secured after photographs taken by the soldiers were made public — failed to end anger among many Iraqis about the treatment of detainees.

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