Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Out, Out Damn Spot!

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention is considered the universal minimum standard of treatment for civilian detainees in wartime. It requires that people be treated "humanely," barring "violence to life and person," (including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture), "outrages upon personal dignity" (humiliating and degrading treatment) and sentencing/execution by courts that fail to provide "all the judicial guarantees … recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

The US Supreme Court recently determined (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld June 29) the Bush Administration's policy of not honoring the Geneva Convention (US ratified 1949) was illegal and that even prisoners in the "War on Terror" are entitled to the protections allowed in the Geneva Convention.

According to reports in the Washington Post, US officials have since responded in three ways:

  1. Asked Congress to pass legislation blocking the prisoners' right to sue for the enforcement of those protections

  2. Drafted legislation allowing the consideration of intelligence gathering needs during interrogations, in place of an absolute human rights standard

  3. Formulated amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers, political appointees, CIA officers and former Military Personnel from criminal charges (for authorizing or administering any humiliating or degrading treatment of prisoners) and eliminate the risk of prosecution

The Bush Administration is obviously trying to cover it's collective ass. Makes me wonder what else they have done that they are so worried about.

Read more here:
Bush officials draft law to protect administration from war crimes (Washington Post)

War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat Of Prosecution (Globe and Mail)

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